The Journey to School

The Journey to School: Chatsworth International School (Singapore)

July 10, 2015


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 worked at the Chatsworth International School (Singapore), described her way to work there as follows:

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At 5 am the loud whoop-whoop-whoop call of the Asian Koel bird echoes through the condo grounds waking me for another day in Singapore. I enjoy drinking a cup of tea, looking out the floor to ceiling windows as the sun comes up over the park between a couple of tower-blocks. Eighty percent of people here live in apartments or ‘flats’ as they call them. I take the elevator eight floors down and as I step out of the air-conditioning, the heat and humidity immediately hit me. I always enjoy walking through the gardens, past the tennis courts where there is usually a gentleman doing tai-chi or a couple of ladies doing chi-gong. As I step out of the side-gate, the calming notes of a Chinese flute float on the air from the HDB (Housing Development Board) across the road and I always wonder who plays so beautifully?

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It’s a short walk along the sidewalk under the lush canopy of beautiful trees to the pedestrian bridge over the road, where I’m usually lazy and take the elevator up. As I cross the bridge I admire the beautiful pink flowers on the bridge. I always feel at home in Singapore as someone who grew up in the UK because there are many reminders of this city-state’s former status as a British colony – like the double-decker busses passing below me.

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Singapore is a very safe, orderly society and they queue up even better than the Brits. People line up one behind the other and wait for people to get off the bus or train. I swipe my pass at the gates of the Mass Rail Transit (MRT) station which is like the London underground, Paris Metro or New York Subway. I’m lucky I live on two lines – the yellow Circle line and the red North-South line. Down the escalators I go and line up on the red arrows indicating each door waiting for my train. The computer-controlled trains run like clockwork almost every minute, so there’s not long to wait till the glass safety doors open.  Then the train doors open and people exit between the green lines and then the red-coated attendants urge us politely to “move to the centre please.” The trains travel at an enormous speed and I always have to hold on, but the Singaporeans seem to balance effortlessly as they read their papers or check their phones. Singapore is an incredibly diverse society, and I enjoy the bright colours of the Indian ladies in kurtas and the Indonesian ladies with their headscarfs. As we pass through the stations if an elderly person or pregnant lady get on people immediately stand up for them to have a seat. There are also announcements in English, Mandarin, Malay and Indonesian “mind the platform gap”, “if you see any suspicious persons or packages please notify station personnel.”

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Twenty minutes later I get a kick out of getting out at ‘ Somerset ‘ MRT. Up the escalators into the shopping centre I join everyone else getting my morning coffee and breakfast to go: I enjoy Costa coffee from the UK where the guys know I like a “medium latte to go lah?” Everyone speaks English but It took me a while to get used to the ‘lah’ added on to many phrases here. That and the ‘can’ or ‘cannot’ for positive or negative answers. After picking up my favourite mushroom bun from the Swiss Marche bakery, I’m out onto busy Orchard Road, a world-famous shopping street with stand-alone luxury stores.

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Chatsworth International School’s Orchard campus is in a prime downtown location. The blue and white buildings are a historic property, originally a private home for the founder of Orchard Road and then the first Chinese Girls School. I don’t usually go in the front gates past the security guard. Instead I prefer walking up lovely Emerald Hill Road looking at the historic Peranakan shop–houses to the back-gate. I swipe my pass in the electronic lock and another day at CIS has begun.

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This Journey to School article was submitted to us by guest author and International School Community member: Sara Lynn Burrough. Check our her personal blog here.  It is called Travelling Teacher.

So what is your journey to the international school you work at?  Earn six 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: Stamford American International School (An international school in Singapore)

April 28, 2014


There are a few international schools to work at in Singapore!  How do these schools stand out from each other?

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Stamford American International School

Super school?? I didn’t realize those existed.  Virtual golfing, a celebrity chef, a stock trading room floor, etc…  Wow!

Nice to have so much technology, but I guess the downside is that after a few years, you will need to have it in the budget to get upgrades on everything as technology super fast.

A 300,000,000 USD campus!  I wonder how this number relates to how much it cost to build other international schools throughout the world.

They seemed to be at the forefront of bilingual education as well, with having Chinese lessons in kindergarten….by non-native speakers as it looks like in the video.

A macbook pro for every student…did I hear that correctly?  How many international schools have 1:1 programmes I wonder?

I love the conference room where they can have/facilitate Skype calls from all over the world.

How awesome that they have such an elaborate security system. Gotta protect all that advanced technology!

25000 AUD to go there as a student, every year!  A high price tag that’s for sure!

Currently on www.internationalschoolcommunity.com we have 20 international schools listed in Singapore.  Here are a just a few of them (The number of comments and information that have been submitted for each school is listed to the right of the link):

• ACS (International) Singapore (10 Comments)
• Canadian International School (Singapore) (9 Comments)
• Chatsworth International School (6 Comments)
• EtonHouse International School (Singapore) (30 Comments)
• International School Singapore (17 Comments)
• One World International School (16 Comments)
• Overseas Family School Singapore (16 Comments)
• Singapore American School (11 Comments)

If you know about what it is like working at one of these international schools in Singapore, log-on today and submit your own comments and information.  Become a Mayor of one of these schools and you will receive unlimited premium access to International School Community for free!

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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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Information for Members

Top 27 International Schools With the Most Comments on ISC

December 4, 2022


Now there are 1209+ international schools that have had comments/reviews submitted on them on our website (up almost 100 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.

Western International School of Shanghai  (566 total comments)

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.

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

Copenhagen International School (414 total comments)

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 27? This list comes from December 2022 with a sample comment for each school.

Here we go:

27. Green School Bali

(Sibang, Indonesia) – 168 Comments
“As time has gone by the new airport has gotten better and better. Lots of eating options, good duty-free, loads of places to sit. Departing is fairly straightforward. Check-in, customs (who don’t care about your liquids as long as they’re not large), immigration, th…”

26. Changchun American International School

(Changchun, China) – 168 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…”

25. International School Saigon Pearl

(Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam) – 169 Comments
“The airport can be very busy. The staff don’t always speak English and facilities are a bit limited for a major international airport to be honest. Best to get there early if you are departing…”

24. International School of Tanganyika

(Dar es Salaam, Tanzania) – 171 Comments
“The IT infrastructure has improved significantly but is still not without its challenges. Internet speed is reasonably fast, much much better than it used to be. All teachers are provided with a Macbook. At secondary, there are 4 computer labs. The science department has 25 m…”

23. Concordia International School (Shanghai)

(Shanghai, China) – 180 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…”

22. American School of Barcelona

(Barcelona, Spain) – 180 Comments
“The turnover 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…”

21. The International School of Dakar

(Dakar, Senegal) – 181 Comments
“Very low turnover this year but we had a large turnover the previous year. Teachers tend to stay 3-4 years but some have stayed much longer…”

20. Canadian International School (Hong Kong)

(Hong Kong, China) – 185 Comments
“CDNIS is an IB World School, implementing PYP, MYP, and DP. In a recent report by the IB governing body, CDNIS must make major administrative and governing reforms in the next year…”

19. Lahore American School

(Lahore, Pakistan) – 193 Comments
“1/2 of the teachers are from North America and 1/2 from Pakistan, a few from UK…”

18. American School of Dubai

(Dubai, UAE) – 197 Comments
“Lately a number of teachers are heading to places like Georgia, Armenia and Azerbaijan. They report great experiences! Oman remains the number one travel option, however, as it is right next door (door to door to Muscat is around the five hour mark) and has lots of great outdoor…”

17. Shanghai American School (Pudong)

(Shanghai, China) – 198 Comments
“There’s a new teacher coordinator who has been a great point of contact for new hires. Induction otherwise is done by partner teachers and departments. China has a lot of stuff to figure out once you get here, and there’s not enough time to help everyone with everything…”

16. Cairo American College

(Cairo, Egypt) – 199 Comments
“The subway costs 2 Egyptian pounds per ride. Taxis vary since you might have to haggle. Many people at the school use a regular driver. The one I use charges less than 200 Egyptian pounds for a trip to the airport, which is about an hour away…”

15. Ghandi Memorial International School

(Jakarta, Indonesia) – 203 Comments
“Bahasa Indonesia is the official language, with English spoken in major cities and tourist areas…”

14. Tsinghua International School (Beijing)

(Beijing, China) – 209 Comments
“There is a new airport going in south of Beijing to relieve the traffic at the main airport…”

13. Khartoum International Community School

(Khartoum, Sudan) – 213 Comments
“Teachers stay because they feel appreciated, their voices are heard, and they get to make a difference. Teachers leave because it’s not…”

12. Oeiras International School

(Lisbon, Portugal) – 220 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…”

11. Keystone Academy

(Beijing, China) – 227 Comments
“Very near school is Pinnacle plaza with Jenny Wang grocery. This is also good for eating out. Newer and busier is Shine hills. Everything is here including a good cinema. Just open behind the school is a new plaza with a cinema and Sam’s Club and a food street, Starbucks, etc…”

10. Seoul Foreign School

(Seoul, South Korea) – 231 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.”

9. Tarsus American College

(Mersin, Turkey) – 283 Comments
“Down to two weeks of holiday in January. No other breaks and we’ve been told that in addition to losing our fall and spring breaks for intensive staff development other PD will be held on weekends…”

8. American International School (Vietnam)

(Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam) – 303 Comments
“Now, it is extensive as it has not been done at all. Atlas Rubicon full steam ahead…”

7. Stamford American International School

(Singapore, Singapore) – 307 Comments
“The school is in the northeast corner of Singapore with very easy access to the city center. Staff can choose their own accommodation location based on their financial and lifestyle preferences. Most teachers live 2-3 MRT (underground) stations away. Public transport is excellent…”

Bangkok, Thailand

6. NIST International School 

(Bangkok, Thailand) – 311 Comments
“With the start of construction on the street the school is located on, the entire schedule has shifted to a later start. Elementary students begin at 8:00 and secondary students at 8:30. So far the response has been overwhelmingly positive…”

5. Singapore American School

(Singapore) – 327 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…”

4. Good Shephard International School

(Ooty, India) – 410 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…”

3. Copenhagen International School 

(Copenhagen, Denmark) – 414 Comments
“You can get travelers and accident insurance from your bank here, like at Nordea. It is really cheap and it gives you health insurance coverage anywhere in the world! It is important to know about this option because now the Danish CPR health social health care card doesn’t…”

2. KIS International School

(Bangkok, Thailand) – 440 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…”

1. Western International School of Shanghai 

(Shanghai, China) – 566 Comments
“Airport is okay. It’s clean and easy to navigate. Immigration can take a long time to get through at peak times during the year but it’s okay. They have water fountains, which as a frequent traveler I really appreciate…”

You can see the 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 free premium access to our website? Become a Mayor today!

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The Journey to School

The Journey to School: United Nations International School (Hanoi)

November 13, 2022


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 United Nations International School (Hanoi), described the way she gets to work as follows:

The road to United Nations International School (Hanoi) in Vietnam

Hanoi is a growing city, with over five million people in its metropolitan area, where most of its habitants move around using motorbikes. Currently, the government is developing its metro system, but only one of its lines is operating. This, plus the fact that finding parking spaces for cars (in addition to their higher prices), makes it difficult for most people to buy one. Therefore, bikes are the preferred method of transportation in the country.

Vo Chi Con Street, near UNIS Hanoi.

When I first moved to Hanoi I was TERRIFIED of motorcycles: driving them, riding on the back of them, having them around me. I came here thinking I would be able to move around in taxis. Boy was I in for a surprise! Yes, you can take taxis to go to most places, as long as you are not in a crunch of time.

Then, going to work (or anywhere where you need to be at a specific time) would be preferable if it is done using a motorbike, which will allow you to move around on your own time, without having to wait for a low number of taxis available in most, if not all, areas of the city. When it rains, it is even worse! I have had to postpone my activities for an hour or two just because I couldn’t get a taxi to pick me up.

Very quickly, I realized that what others had said about the need of getting a bike here, was completely true. I had to leave my fear of bikes behind and learn how to drive one! Now, I go to work daily on my 50CC bike and use taxis for everything else. 

I live a little bit less than 3 km away from school, in an expat area called Tay Ho. My school is also in the same neighborhood so it only takes me around 8 minutes to get to work in the mornings and back home in the afternoons. Traffic at those times is fine (7:30 am and 4 pm). When I have to stay in meetings until 5 pm, then I run into rush hour and that is VERY hectic! Fortunately, my drive is so short and I use a major/wide street, so traffic doesn’t really add to my commute on those days. It just feels busier as the number of vehicles on the road significantly increases.

Here you can see a video of the outside of my building. Hanoi has areas that are more developed than what most people think.

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This Journey to School article was submitted to us by an ISC member.

What to know more about what it is like to visit and live in Vietnam?  Out of a total of 36 international schools that we have listed in Vietnam, 26 have had comments submitted on them. Here are a few of them:

American International School Vietnam (AISVN) (298 total comments)
ABC International School (Vietnam) (28 total Comments)
Concordia International School Hanoi (38 total Comments)
International School Ho Chi Minh City (93 total Comments)
Hoi An International School (43 total comments)
International School Saigon Pearl (154 total Comments)
Singapore International School (Saigon South) (55 total Comments)
United Nations International School (Hanoi) (121 total 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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Information for Members

Is Getting to Work Dread or Joy: 23 Journeys to International Schools Around the World

March 13, 2022


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.

On the ISC blog, we have a blog category called The Journey to School. It discusses the ins and outs of how international school teachers get to work/school in many countries around the world.

Nobody wants a horrible journey to work. Long journeys can really waste away your day (if your journey is one hour each way, for example). In some schools you need to use public transport, other schools you need your own car. It is possible that some teachers actually can take the school bus along with the students at their school. Usually, that is free, so that can be nice. Also, it can stop teachers from working long hours as you need to be ready to go home when the school bus leaves!

In some countries and at certain international schools, your journey can be one that has very nice things to look at. How wonderful to have some beautiful scenery to look at as you get your mind ready for a day of work. On the other hand, it can be that teachers at some international schools are just going on a highway with views of boring high-rise apartment buildings with very little nature to look at.

Another way to get to work is to ride your bike or just walk. For teachers who’d like to get a bit of exercise in their daily routine, this can be quite a good setup!

We currently have 23 journeys listed in The Journey to School blog category. We have listed them all here:

On the way to International School Basel

International School Basel
Tarsus American College
Cheongna Dalton School
Jerudong International School
American Embassy School New Delhi
International School of Brussels

On the way to Anglo American School of Sofia

Anglo American School of Sofia
Xian Hi-Tech International School
Singapore American School
Leysin American School
American International School in Egypt
Ruamrudee International School Bangkok
Western International School of Shanghai
Chatsworth International School (Singapore)

On the way to Dulwich College Suzhou

Dulwich College Suzhou
Hong Kong International School
NIST International School
International School of Tanganyika
Copenhagen International School

On the way to The Bermuda High School for Girls

The Bermuda High School for Girls
Rasami (Thai-British) International School
American School Taichung
Al Hada International School

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’.

All you need to do is take a few pictures of what you see or do on your way to school and then write a description of your journey. ISC members will appreciate you sharing what you know as it gives an excellent insight (for prospective teachers) into what it might be like to go to work at your school each day.

Email us here if you are interested.

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Information for Members

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

February 27, 2022


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.

Currently, our top 40 international schools with the most members are (6 December 2020):

30 members – American International School in Egypt

28 members International School of Kuala Lumpur
27 members – Copenhagen International School
25 members – International School Manila
24 members – MEF International School Istanbul
23 members – Western International School of Shanghai
21 members – Fairview International School
21 members – Brent International School Manila

21 members – Seoul Foreign School
21 membersAmerican International School (Vietnam)
21 members – American School Foundation of Mexico City
20 membersInternational School Dhaka
20 members – International School of Tanganyika
19 members – Jakarta Intercultural School
19 members – Seoul International School
19 members – Graded School Sao Paulo
18 members – Shanghai United International School (Hongqiao)

18 members – Shanghai Community International School
18 members – American School of Barcelona
18 membersAga Khan Academy Mombasa
17 members – Nazarbayev Intellectual School of Astana
17 members – Qatar Academy (Doha)
17 members – International School Panama
17 membersPathways World School
17 membersInternational School of Phnom Penh (ISPP)
17 members – American International School of Johannesburg
17 members – International School Bangkok
17 membersGood Shepherd International School
17 members – Singapore American School

17 membersAmerican International School Dhaka
16 members – United Nations International School (Vietnam)
16 members – Cairo American College
16 membersSuzhou Singapore International School
16 membersWestern Academy of Beijing
16 members NIST International School
16 membersAnglo-American School of Moscow

15 membersCanadian International School (Singapore)
15 membersAmerican School of Kuwait
15 membersChadwick International School – Songdo
15 members – American School of Bombay

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/they 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 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 16 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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Discussion Topics

How Have International Schools Been Doing During the COVID 19 Pandemic?

December 5, 2021


Nobody was fully prepared to deal with the lockdowns international schools have been experiencing.

Some international schools experienced teaching from home, doing remote learning. And though many international schools are back to in-person learning at the moment (with or without masks), others are still in the throws of remote teaching!

It has been hard on all stakeholders, and it continues to be hard on the international school community. Most of us are subjected to the rules and regulations of our host country, which can be comforting and also stressful. And international schools must make plans to follow these (sometimes ever-changing) rules.

We all want to do our part to get this pandemic over and done with. But the reality is that it has been very stressful constantly making changes to how we teach. And even if an international school teacher is getting into the groove with their current setup, there is always a sense that a new change is coming soon.

Adding to the stress and anxiety, the truth is that some international school teachers haven’t been back to their home in over two years because they have not been allowed to leave their host country!

How then have international schools made these decisions to teach during the COVID 19 pandemic? How have they made their decisions to teach in a safe way, and how were those decisions perceived and experienced by the staff?

Luckily, ISC was designed to help international school teachers find the information they are looking for. We have a comment topic called, “How did this school handle the COVID-19 situation?” and here are 11 comments that have been submitted in this section:

China (Beijing)

“The school went above and beyond on the covid-19 situation in helping families, setting up robust online learning. Some teachers took advantage of this, so things have tightened up a bit. Online learning has greatly been minimised due to extreme government caution but everyone is still masked and subjected to frequent test requests / inspections etc. Travel is severely hampered and is totally unpredictable…” – Western Academy of Beijing (76 total comments)

Vietnam

“The school did a great job following the government’s guidelines…” – International School Saigon Pearl (103 total comments)

Thailand (Nonthaburi)

“Terribly. They furloughed most of the teacher assistants and cafeteria workers. They fired someone very last minute, claiming low enrollment when she had already signed a contract for the following year…” – Ruamrudee International School (Ratchapruek) (45 total comments)

China (Shanghai)

“Not well. When 40%+ of the faculty was trapped outside china (along with much of the families) the school furloughed/fired a huge chunk of them even though all of us who weren’t furloughed/fired eventually got back in. The school then hired replacements for the classrooms. It was clear that the people that were fired were people the administrators wanted to get rid of (i.e. tougher personalities). It felt like the school used COVID, instead of normal improvement plan processes, to part ways with people. This left many individuals stuck in countries that weren’t their home with no job and no income – it was devastating to many. Most of us wish they would have kept everyone on at reduced pay for 1 year (supposedly we had the money to do so) with knowing that they would need to make reductions the following year. It would have been compassionate to give everyone time to figure out what they needed to do…” – Shanghai American School (Pudong) (197 total comments)

Thailand (Chiang Mai)

“COVID has had a huge impact on the school, its managers, teachers, parents and students. Parents and teachers have been critical of some of the things the school has done but generally, everyone accepts these are intolerably difficult and unique times and that management does not have a crystal ball and is generally reacting well to the latest whims of government policy…” – Lanna International School (LIST) (55 total comments)

Poland

“In March of 2020, the school followed government guidelines and transitioned to remote learning mostly synchronously. This was initially meant to last for a few weeks, but in the end, we never returned to school. Our spring break was shortened so that we could end the year early, and this was generally appreciated. With a rigorous testing/masking/distancing regimen in place (and a general ban on parents entering the building), we were able to return to in-person classes for the entirety of the 2020/21 school year. There were always a handful of students who attended in a hybrid mode, and small categories of students were occasionally excluded and moved to virtual mode for short periods of time depending on testing results. Graduation was held in drive-in mode on campus for the classes of 2020 and 2021, which was an excellent concession. The protocols continue to be followed this year (though hybrid students are generally not accommodated for except in extraordinary circumstances) and things feel as close to “normal” as one could hope for…” – American School of Warsaw (167 total comments)

China (Shekou)

“Brilliantly. Paid for flights and quarantine costs for all employees stuck outside of China. Will do the same for the next summer break as well…” – Shekou International School (109 total comments)

Japan

“We were very lucky to have only 1 month of online/remote learning in which the Head of Tech Integration was able to set up the online program for teachers, students, and parents…” – Hope International Academy Okinawav (76 total comments)

Thailand (Phuket)

“Really really badly although the CEO is convinced otherwise. During the last lockdown, staff was close to breaking point (and still are). Laurent and his minions decided the stick approach was best so forced staff to work from campus and remove lunches, remove the ability for staff to buy their own, and remove coffee. Then they decided that it was a good time to do appraisals, observations and hand out personal criticisms. You honestly couldn’t make this shXX up. Every single one of his remaining decent staff members is now looking elsewhere. He has fundamentally damaged the core of the school-his staff and does not appear to see this as a problem. In 18 months this school has gone from ‘has potential ‘ to ‘RUN’…” – Berda Claude International School (39 total comments)

China (Macao)

“The school has an online learning plan when it is necessary to implement. Macau has been a very safe place to live and work during COVID but with that safety comes very limited movement. Getting into Macau is very difficult and when you are here it is basically impossible to leave. This has made life very hard for expats…” – The School of the Nations (Macao) (28 total comments)

China (Suzhou)

“China, and especially Suzhou, is lucky to have been open most of the time during COVD-19! SSIS was forced to have a delayed start to the school year this year by the local government due to COVID-19 which has affected the calendar a bit by shortening staff vacations…” – Suzhou Singapore International School (147 total comments)

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Information for Members

The 40 Most Viewed Schools on International School Community

June 13, 2021


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

It’s like, which school is the most popular amongst our 21.7K+ 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!

The school that has the most views right now is the Al Hada International School (13 total comments), which currently has around 170967 views. Who wouldn’t want to work in the Middle East?!

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

International School of Chile (Nido de Aguilas) (48 total comments) Santiago, Chile
(76394 views)

“I found the interview process to be very random and not very organized. The ES principal was not someone I am excited to work for. That said, the school has a good reputation and is in a great location…”

British International School Moscow (42 total comments) Moscow, Russia
(71149 views)

“Not recommended to use shipping. I moved with suitcases. Most apartments are fully furnished and the paperwork and red tape make it highly discouraged to relocate with anything other than luggage. The school was very up front with this and explain the nightmare that is Russian bo…”

The Universal American School (22 total comments) Salwa, Kuwait
(54998 views)

“UAS facilities are air-conditioned including an indoor swimming pool, multi-purpose play court, fully equipped gymnasium, a 400-seat auditorium, large library, and a multi-purpose hall. Students have access to three computer labs, science labs at all levels, music/band rooms, large…”

International School of Elite Education (13 total comments) New Cairo City, Egypt
(47796 views)

“No taxes have to be paid. Salaries are in USD. Monthly salary, average is between 1800-1900 USD…”

Colegio Granadino Manizales (68 total comments) Manizales, Colombia
(39528 views)

“For me personally, many aspects of my job was discussed during the interview. Talking to teachers before coming to Manizales also helped clear up some of the unknown areas. For some of my colleagues, however, this wasn’t the case, and there were some unexpected surprises…”

American International School of Budapest (55 total comments) Budapest, Hungary
(21174 views)

“In secondary, the meeting schedule for the school year is mapped out in advance and the meeting of the week (Tuesday for MS and Wednesday for HS) rotates between full faculty meetings, department meetings, grade-level meetings, and no meetings when it is a week where grades are d…”

Leman International School Chengdu (21 total comments) Chengdu, China
(5867 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…”

International School of Kuala Lumpur (135 total comments) Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
(5220 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.”

Western International School of Shanghai (481 total comments) Shanghai, China
(5020 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!”

Copenhagen International School (391 total comments) Copenhagen, Denmark
(4612 views)

“This year CIS went to a recruiting fair in London. The director mentioned that he wants to make sure our school ‘stays visible’ at these fairs every once and awhile. There weren’t that many vacancies this year, which is typical because people tend to stay here a…”

Singapore American School (313 total comments) Singapore, Singapore
(4659 views)

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

NIST International School (403 total comments) Bangkok, Thailand
(4115 views)

“Campus is south of the city. Apartments are being built around it and public transportation links near the school are improving…”

Concordia International School (Shanghai) (180 total comments) Shanghai, China
(3928 views)

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

American International School in Egypt (Main Campus) (64 total comments) Cairo, Egypt
(3881 views)

“This is a bit of an issue at AIS. They seem to hire people without checking references and most interviews are just over the phone or Skype. Several people get fired a year due to behaviors that I am sure would have shown before hiring should AIS do face to face interviews and…”

Canadian International School (Hong Kong) (168 total comments) Hong Kong, China
(3156 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.”

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

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Information for Members

So Many International Schools WITHOUT Retirement Plans!

February 28, 2021


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

We found 26 comments when we searched the short phrase: “No retirement
Here are a few of those comments:

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

Canadian International School (Tokyo) (93) Total comments
No retirement plan for teachers.”

International School Ho Chi Minh City (93) Total comments
“Unfortunately there is no retirement plan.”

We also searched the short phrase “No pension” and found 85 comments.
Here are a few of those comments:

Zhuhai International School (121) Total comments
“There are no pension plans from the school (included in the contract) although if you wished to establish one the office staff would be able to assist you in establishing one.”

Varee Chiang Mai International School (117) Total comments
“There is no pension provision, but an end-of-contract gratuity is awarded in lieu.”

Stamford American International School (307) Total comments
“There is no pension, but this means you can invest your money as you see fit. There is a 15% allowance that is paid monthly with your salary. This is “in lieu of CPF” which is paid for Singaporeans and PR.”

On the more positive side, we had a quick search for this key phrase “matching” (30 comments) hoping to find comments related to international schools that match the pension plan contribution of the teachers.  
Here are a few of those comments:

American International School Vienna (81) Total comments
“Under the newest contract, teachers now have 10% matching for retirement fund commencing at first year. Certainly better if you’re there short-term, though perhaps not if you’d plan to stay 30 years.”

Hong Kong International School (151) Total comments
“I spend a lot of money here because I love to do eat out a lot, travel, and there are many things to do in the city. With that being said, I save about 1,300 USD a month, not counting the school severance/matching scheme which is another 1,300 USD.”

Cairo American College (196) Total comments
“The pay continues to be good. There is now a higher matching for retirement. The cost of living is still very inexpensive in Egypt.”

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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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Discussion Topics

The Interview Process: Insight into 12 international schools on what they do

February 2, 2020


International School Community is full of tens of thousands of useful, informative comments…35536 comments (2 Feb. 2020) to be exact.

Members are recommended to keep their comments objective on our website. In one of the 66 comment topics, they are encouraged to share their experiences interviewing with international schools. How did it go? Was it easy to get? Recruitment fair or Skype? What did you have to do? Was the experience positive or less than ideal?

We scoured our database of comments, and we found 12 that stood out to us as being some of the most interesting and insightful about each school’s interview process.

1.

“Interviews are usually handled via Skype by the Head of School. HR manages the hiring process very well. Faculty recommendations for new staff are heavily considered.” –North Jakarta Intercultural School (99 total comments)

2.

“GIS uses renowned recruiting agencies and also posts its vacancies in its website. Candidates must send their CVs and educational statement to:
principal@issaopaulo.com.br . Initial contact is done via email, inviting candidate for skype/ whatsapp interview. Should they pass this phase, then they are interviewed by the educational consultant. Once both parties are happy, a letter of engagement is sent and visa process which is taken care of by the school is initiated. Teachers must have a fully qualified teaching degree and at least two years experience. The school is committed to offer PYP training.” –GIS – The International School of Sao Paulo (22 total comments)

3.

“I had a very positive interview experience, yet no job offer. The process was fast. I applied one day and the next was called for a skype interview. The next day I interviewed for a second time. No restrictions that I am aware of.” – Veritas International School (3 total comments)

4.

“I was interviewed by skype, first with 2 persons from my department, nearly a month later there was a 2nd interview with the school director.
The whole process lasted about 2 months.” – Euroamerican School of Monterrey (10 total comments)

5.

“Each interview comes with a demo lesson. The main purpose is to see if you click with the kids and can get their attention. The second main criterion is that you must be able to not be teacher-centered. Basic.” – Assumption College Sriracha (47 total comments)

6.

“Hiring is done through direct applications as well as through Search Associates. First interview is with the head of school (which they call “principal” here), followed by a second interview with the head of section (secondary, primary, or little KICS). No hiring restrictions I’m aware of, even age limit doesn’t seem to be a problem, although I’m not 100% sure on that one.” – Khartoum International Community School (116 total comments)

7.

“If you want to apply to NIST, prepare for it well in advance. Whether you go through ISS-Schrole or Search, have all your docs ready to upload and make sure your referees are ready to submit their recommendations online. There’s also a recorded safeguarding interview that you’ll have to complete as one of the final steps if you’re being considered for a position, so think about how you would answer questions related to that area.” – NIST International School (298 total comments)

8.

“The complete hiring took a pretty long time. I went through 4 interviews and had to do a very extensive background check. Make sure you apply with plenty of time. The interviews were pretty nice, people seemed always friendly and requested a live demo lesson.” – The Village School (24 total comments)

9.

“Religion is not discussed in hiring, except to ensure that potential staff members have read and are in agreement with their open and inclusive Religious Life policy. Interviews are far more focused on teaching (newly adopted MYP/DP means they’re looking for those with experience) and whether the active lifestyle (walking up and down the hilly campus) would be a good fit. Single parents would do well here; with a large of number of staff kids and the school’s activities, there would be a community of support.” – Woodstock School (128 total comments)

10.

“Once shortlisted, an applicant will be scheduled for a panel interview that consists of the headmaster, principal, assistant principal, and head of department via Skype. HR will contact the successful applicant with a job offer. Age restrictions have been relaxed.” – TEDA Global Academy (85 total comments)

11.

“CMIS advertises openings on the school website and TIE online. interview process is fairly direct, generally consisting of 2 to 3 interviews with section administrator and then the school superintendent.” – Chiang Mai International School (24 total comments)

12.

“I just interviewed with this school over Skype. There was the first interview with the actually staff that you would be working with, and then a follow up interview with the Principal/Head of School. Each interview lasted around 50 minutes. Just a note to consider, Singapore/the school doesn’t allow for non-teaching partners to get a work visa. They will need to get a work visa themselves if they want to work there, or they can also sign up and register a company (which I guess is easy to do and cheap) and then they can do work there.” – Nexus International School – Singapore (54 total comments)

If you have interviewed at an international school and know first hand knowledge about their interview process, log in to International School Community and submit your comment. For every 10 submitted comments, you will get one month of free premium membership added to your account!

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Discussion Topics

Why Do International School Educators Teach Abroad? To Work AND Party!

December 1, 2018


The majority of international educators are professionals. They are some of the most innovative and progressive teachers out there.

However, International schools teachers certainly like to have their fun as well. Some might say the whole point of teaching abroad is to escape their boring home country/city life and inject some more excitement.

When not teaching at their international schools, there must be time to take in the city life and party!

Teach Abroad

It is not that difficult to find a group of colleagues at your international school to go out and party with you. And depending on what city you are living in the world, there are always certain spots at which to hang out.

People teach abroad for many reasons, and one of them is for a good nightlife. Some cities in the world are better known for their nightlife than others, so it is good to do a bit of research before your move. But anywhere there are expats, there is bound to be a neighborhood or two that they like to hang out in.

Teach Abroad

And let’s not forget the annual school Christmas party! Many international schools go all out to put together a nice Christmas party for their staff. Crazy antics usually happen at an international school Christmas party, thus proving that numerous international school educators indeed like to balance doing their job and also saving some time to party!

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Using our ISC’s unique Comment Search feature, we searched the keyword “party.” We found that we currently have 71 comments (Dec. 2018) with that keyword on it.

Here are a few of those submitted comments:

“There is so much nightlife here. If you want to go out and party in the city centre, there are endless place to do that. Locals love to go to a pub and stand outside of it and drink away with their friends, even if it is cold out outside. But I must say that last night, we saw at least spots on the sidewalk where someone had vomited. So people are definitely getting piss drunk here. LOL.” – American School of London (London, UK)15 Total Comments

“Plenty of nightlife. Clark Quay is probably the most known of the party scenes, but there are lots of other options from a plethora of rooftop bars, brewpubs to small local clubs…” – Singapore American School (Singapore)184 Comments

“Foreign staff usually are offered accommodation in an apartment complex that is next to the school. The complex features a small pool, gym and party area. Parties are held by neighbours regularly so it can be noisy at times, but it dies down after a certain time. Also, the size of the bedrooms are a bit small but you get used to that….” – American School of Belo Horizonte (Belo Horizonte, Brazil)72 Total Comments

Teach Abroad

“New staff start a day earlier and are invited to a welcome breakfast, where we met all the academic coordinators and people in key roles, such as the nurse and admin staff. Christmas is a special time, where we had a special staff breakfast on top of a glamorous Christmas party! The principal is also very friendly and arranges social gatherings…” – SEK Catalunya International School (La Garriga, Spain)29 Comments

“They’ve started having an annual New Year’s party after the winter break where parents, faculty, and alumni have a very relaxed evening, catching up after their holiday adventures…” – Canadian Academy (Kobe) (Kobe, Japan)68 Comments

“You can find anything for any taste. You can opt for some quiet activities or team sports, quiet walks or a wild party in the city. There are excellent clubs and bars, and some quiet places. Ask the locals or more “experienced” expats and they will guide you…” – Knightsbridge Schools International Panama (Panama City, Panama)39 Comments

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Highlighted Articles

Universities with the Most International Teachers

October 30, 2018


Students are often taught that when they study at schools abroad they are opening their mind to new opportunities and lessons. In fact, there are plenty of universities that benefit from a diverse culture when they accept students from all over the world.

International Teachers

It isn’t just students that make up a diverse culture, though. Having a diverse panel of teachers from all over the world also plays a huge role in helping students learn from different points of view.

If you are interested in going to a diverse university, where should you go? What are the most culturally varied universities in the world?

It’s important to remember that a large part of looking at the universities with the most international teachers are often the most advertised through international programs for students. With more international students, though, you are likely to find more international teachers to match.

École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne

The first university we will look at today is the École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne or, in English, the Federal Institute of Technology in Lausanne. As is told in the name, this university is located in Lausanne, Switzerland.

This means that students and teachers are a cultural center in this French-speaking section of Switzerland. After all, they are studying and working in the heart of Europe with France, Germany, Austria, Italy, and Liechtenstein all bordering the country making them close and ready for exploration.

As far as the university itself, it specializes in natural sciences and engineering. Interestingly enough, this is one of very few universities that run a nuclear reactor, a fusion reactor, a Gene/Q Supercomputer, as well as P3 biohazard facilities all for research and teaching purposes.

The university also runs a number of exchange programs. As a result, they are home to a diverse student body hailing from 112 different nationalities.

University of Hong Kong

If you are looking for a particularly diverse university, the University of Hong Kong should definitely be on your list.

International Teachers

This university has the goal of becoming “Asia’s Most Global University”. In practice, this means that by 2019, they plan for 50% of their undergraduates to study internationally. By 2022, every undergraduate student will have the same opportunity making this a university rife with the possibility for each student to expand their horizons. Even at this point, diversity is a high priority with 40% of the University of Hong Kong being international students.

For professors, this is a great chance to build your career as this is a research driven university. In fact, 111 of the professors at this universities have been ranked within the top 1% in the world by Essential Science Indicators.

For students, the University of Hong Kong will help you graduate with a highly valuable degree. Throughout the last 11 years, they have boasted a 99.4% graduate employment rate.

National University of Singapore

If you decide the University of Hong Kong isn’t for you but you still want to work or study within Asia, you should consider the National University of Singapore. The National University of Singapore is actually considered one of the best universities in Asia, so students and professors alike can expect a lot of value out of their time here.

For students who are looking to travel, the National University of Singapore has plenty of overseas colleges that students can attend during overseas programs. These include chances to travel and study in Beijing, Israel, Munich, Shanghai, New York, Stockholm, Silicon Valley, and Lausanne. The National Universities of Singapore also works closely with two of the best American universities – Yale University and Duke University.

As a student, you would also have the chance to work towards double degree or joint degree with exchange programs with other leading universities.

University of Geneva

The University of Geneva is not only known as one of the most diverse universities in the world, it is also known as Switzerland’s second largest university.

International Teachers

While studying or working at the University of Geneva, there are more than 280 different degree programs and over 250 continuing education programs. This, paired with the fact that they have an average of 16,000 international students from more than 140 different countries, makes the University of Geneva a place rife with opportunities for both students and teachers.

This article was submitted to us by ISC member and guest author, David Smith.

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The Journey to School

The Journey to School: Cheongna Dalton School (Incheon, South Korea)

October 7, 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 at which they have never been.  So let’s share what we know!

One of our members, who works at the Cheongna Dalton School (Incheon, South Korea), described the way he gets to work as follows:

The road to Cheongna Dalton School…

I’m originally from Montana (in the US), which is a place known for its wide open space. I grew up driving very long distances at very high speeds in order to get places. I grew up commuting; it was simply a part of my life.

At my previous job in Korea, I had a 20-30 minute commute to work every morning. Because of my past, I didn’t find it to be that difficult to ride the school bus for that long. In the evening, the bus ride would be quite a bit longer due to traffic. I didn’t take that ride as much, but I dealt with it when I did.

Other teachers I have know have told me that living on a school campus is terrible. I never really gave it much thought until I came to Cheongna Dalton School, where I live on campus… And I absolutely love it!

It makes my life so easy. My commute is a two-minute walk from one building to another. That walk way in the photo (top of this article) — that’s it!

  1. I go out of my room
  2. down one flight of stairs
  3. out the door
  4. across the sidewalk to the other building
  5. go in the door
  6. and go up three floors to my office.

It takes two minutes. Yes, I’ve timed it.

The school itself is good and the kids are totally amazing. My job is the Director of EdTech and I am a department of one covering the entire school, Pre-K to G12. With 450 students and 60 teachers to serve, I keep busy, but I love the job.

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This Journey to School article was submitted to us by guest author, Tim Bray.

What to know more what it is like to visit and live in South Korea?  Out of a total of 31 international schools we have listed in South Korea, 28 have had comments submitted on them. Here are just a few:

Big Heart Christian School (48 comments)
Chadwick International School – Songdo (78 Comments)
Cheongna Dalton School (60 Comments)
Dwight School Seoul (35 Comments)
Global Prodigy Academy (48 Comments)
Gyeonggi Suwon International School (47 Comments)
International School of Koje (47 Comments)
Korea International School (Seoul) (52 Comments)
Seoul Foreign School (147 Comments)
Seoul International School (86 Comments)
Singapore American School (104 Comments)

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

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The Journey to School

The Journey to School: Jerudong International School

April 9, 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 Jerudong International School (Brunei), described his way to work there as follows:

The road to Jerudong International School…

Brunei, a small country on the island of Borneo, which is famous for its’ lush jungle and wildlife. Brunei is a beautiful country with views of lush green jungle on almost any journey.

international school

Working at Jerudong International School means we have an option of taking the school allocated housing close to school or taking an allowance and going further out.

My wife and I being a teaching couple choose to stay close to school at Armada Housing (Rimba Estate). The journey itself is a 6 minute drive with hardly any traffic.

Armada Housing has literally been cut out of the jungle to make a complex which is safe and secure comprising of a gym, swimming pool and a variety of different housing styles ranging from 4 bed houses to penthouses.

international school

Our morning generally starts in a relaxing manner when we wake up between 4.30-5am to shower, followed by mediation/prayer. We eat breakfast then start our journey to school around 7am.

We choose to drive, but there are a few colleagues who bike through the jungle every morning. The drive takes us out of Armada Housing, on to the highway with views of the jungle on either side. We then get off at the JIS exit when the DST tower is on our left (5th tallest building in Brunei, a mere 71m/14 floors), where we then drive up to one of four entrances to park our car.

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All in all, a swift and efficient journey to school.

Here is a video of our journey on a beautiful Saturday afternoon:

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This Journey to School article was submitted to us by guest author, Amarpreet Singh. Amarpreet is a UK trained Teacher of Mathematics, currently teaching in Brunei Darussalam at Jerudong International School. He is moving to teach at a leading not for profit international school in Dubai (UAE) later this academic year. He made the move to Brunei with his wife (Teacher of Biology) and has enjoyed the adventures and challenges an international school provides.

What to know more what it is like to visit and live in SE Asia?  Out of a total of 311 international schools we have listed in SE Asia, 155 that have had comments submitted on them. Here are just a few:

Ican British International School (74 comments)
Northbridge International School (58 Comments)
Gandhi Memorial Intercontinental School (86 Comments)
Green School Bali (98 Comments)
Sekolah Victory Plus (137 Comments)
Fairview International School (121 Comments)
International School of Kuala Lumpur (107 Comments)
Mont’Kiara International School (69 Comments)
Nexus International School (82 Comments)
International School Manila (71 Comments)
Singapore American School (90 Comments)
Stamford American International School (108 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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An Insider's Story

International School Drama/The Arts Teachers: An Insider’s Story

January 24, 2018


In my earlier career in public schools in Alberta, Canada I was a Drama teacher. The arts always seemed to be under threat in the public education system, and in my experience Music, Art and Drama teachers always seemed to be fighting for their survival. We had thriving Drama classes and a popular extra-curricular programme at my school where students in Junior High and Senior High competed in Zone and Provincial Drama Festivals, but when I went to teach in Australia on a year-long exchange they cancelled the Drama programme to save money, and only the Art classes and the Band programme survived the arts cuts that year.

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Teaching in Queensland, Australia for a year was an eye-opener as far as the arts went. Programmes seemed to be very well supported with excellent facilities and had far more to offer students such as many workshops in specialities like mime, street theatre and dance for example than the much more basic curriculums I was used to in Canada. The arts curriculums seemed to be very extensive and arts taken for granted as a part of an Australian school. After a huge well supported musical “Annie Get Your Gun” I returned to my school in Canada where we had no theatre and I taught Drama in a regular classroom, pushing aside the desks as needed.

I had to return to Canada and teach as an English teacher even though I wanted to teach Drama. For many students in my experience, the arts are vital to balance out academics and sports. All students need an opportunity to excel and be successful in something, and for many that is not their regular exam classes or a sports team. So the art teacher and I collaborated and kept the school productions going, a total of 25 Junior and Senior High shows over the years where students could act, sing and dance or work backstage, or designing the set. Students loved the opportunity to be creative, and often it was the behaviourally challenged students or those who didn’t quite ‘fit in’ in other classes that loved Drama the most. We continued to participate in the Zone Festivals winning many times, and what a treat it was to be in a real theatre! The highlight was going to the Provincial Drama Festival and winning Best Ensemble and raft of other awards for our huge production of “The Canterbury Tales.’

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Before I left Canada I was chosen for a Commonwealth Teacher Exchange to the United Kingdom. I went to teach in beautiful Norwich, Norfolk and became familiar with the British National Curriculum at KS3 and KS4 in particular. In England I was exposed to the rigour of a Drama programme shaped around students completing exams for their GCSE’s. I liked in particular how Drama, Music and Art were all exam subjects with strict, demanding curriculums and the disciplines were treated the same as academic subjects. In Alberta, Canada the arts are not exam subjects and the curriculum is very much left up to the teacher. I left England after our huge whole-school production of “Jesus Christ Superstar” with much to think about.

The thinking led me to the Search Associates Recruiting Fair in London, England and a decision to work in International Schools. I accepted an offer to teach GCSE Drama and IBDP Theatre at one of the top British Curriculum schools in China. The school was expanding from the Junior School to a brand-new Senior School. Before I became a teacher I had done a degree in Technical Theatre and so I had a lot of input into the building of the brand new Black Box classroom I would be working in and the incredible state-of the-art Theatre. What a treat it was to work in such amazing facilities with such keen students and such small classes after public education! I was familiar with the GCSE Drama curriculum and put students through both the EdExcel and the Cambridge exam board. My top tip for teachers wanting to work in British curriculum schools is don’t apply unless you already know the British National Curriculum, and the requirements of at least one GCSE exam board. It’s a very steep (I would say almost impossible) learning curve if you don’t already come in with that knowledge. It was no problem that I had no IBDP Theatre experience. The school had an unlimited budget and was quick to send me for training for my Category 1 IBDP Theatre course and countless other IBDP workshops. It’s easy to do well and get good results working in this kind of environment. Don’t kid yourself though-the results and marks really matter to the students, the parents and the school and if you don’t deliver you’ll be out. My love of Theatre and the performing arts in particular was well supported here with productions of “Aladdin,” “Macbeth,” “Blood Brothers,” “Cinderella” and “Marriage Proposal” amongst many other class and exam productions.

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In my current school in Singapore I’m in a different role. I am Head of Arts for the Secondary school. I supervise the Music, Visual Arts, Drama and Theatre programmes. I have six teachers working in the Arts Department. We are an IB World School and run PYP, MYP and IBDP curriculum. It’s important as HOD Arts to make sure we offer a balanced programme, no one art discipline can take precedence over another. Our students in Years 7, 8 and 9 all take all three arts classes. In Years 10 and 11 they choose one of the Arts disciplines to specialize in for two years and complete their exam ePortfolio of four assignments in Year 11. At the school we also offer IBDP Visual Arts and Theatre for two years. I teach some Drama classes and Theatre, but I am also given a lot of HOD time to manage staff, take care of the budget, ensure curriculum is being taught well, arrange standardisation and moderation of marks and a myriad of other responsibilities. I have my IBDP Cat 2 now and am an Examiner for the IBDP Theatre curriculum.

We run Arts Nights for the performing arts in each semester, as well as a school Talent Show. The Visual Arts puts up displays of art at these times as well as participating in the huge IN Exhibition of Visual Art from fifteen International Schools in Singapore as well as the IBDP Visual Arts Exhibition in the Spring. We run extensive co-curricular and extra-curricular activities for the students in the arts like bands, singing groups, drumming lessons and arts workshops. We are an International School Theatre Association School and run a lot of workshops through them e.g bringing the theatre company ‘Frantic Assembly’ in from the UK or Marco Luly- a Commedia dell’ Arte expert in from Italy. We run two Musicals a year, the Secondary Musical for Years 9-13 and the Primary/Middle School Musical for Years 3-8. The last four years we have done “Urbs, Urbis,” “Arlecchino and the City of Love,” “Little Red Riding Hood and the Wolf, “ “A Christmas Carol” and currently with a team of ten teachers and over 75 students “Cinderella, Rockerfella.” All of our shows are performed in professional theatre facilities we rent in Singapore. All of this is such a pleasant change from fighting for the arts survival in a Canadian public school, and having to fight for every cent we wanted to spend. I wish I had gone to work in International Schools much earlier in my career, but better late than never!

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This article was submitted to us by International School Community member, Sara Lynn Burrough. Sara Lynn Burrough has worked as a Drama/Theatre teacher for the past 38 years in Canada, Australia, the United Kingdom, China and Singapore. She has a BEd, an MEd, was a professional stage manager at the Banff Centre for the Arts and studied Technical Theatre at McGill University in Montreal. In Canada as a teacher she worked for many years for Northern Gateway Schools in Alberta, and during that time was selected for two teacher exchange programmes. Her first exchange to Australia was with Alberta Education and the Queensland Department of Education where she taught at Costessey High School, in Coolum Beach on the Sunshine Coast. Her second exchange was with the prestigious ‘League for the Exchange of Commonwealth Teachers’ (LECT) where she was one of two Canadian teachers selected to go to the United Kingdom for the millennial year to the United Kingdom. The Queen Mother was the patron of LECT and as she was celebrating her 100th birthday that year Sara Lynn was privileged to attend the celebrations in London as an invitee. In 2013 Sara Lynn decided to teach in International Schools and attended the Search Associates recruiting fair in London, England. From there she went to Dulwich College in Suzhou, China to teach GCSE Drama and IBDP Theatre in the Senior School. After China Sara Lynn went to Singapore for almost five years as Head of Arts (Music, Visual Arts, Drama) at Chatsworth International School where she taught MYP Drama and IBDP Theatre.

Using our unique Comment Search feature on our website (premium membership access needed), we found 96 comments that have the keyword “Drama” in them, and 14 comments that had the word “The Arts” in them.

Here are some comments that shown a positive light on Learning Support programs at international schools:

“The school just celebrated its 50th anniversary and there are many banners around the school. The school in involved with the SITS programme which is a quality drama and arts programme for kids.” – Oslo International School (17 Total Comments)

“Stoke City FC just started this school year and there are several other “big” initiatives as well, mostly in music and drama departments.” – Western International School of Shanghai (312 Total Comments)

“It is limited. In primary there is futsal, while secondary usually has volleyball and basketball. Baseball is popular but it is not offered in any organised way. The school usually participates at the MUN conference in Kobe in February each year. Drama and arts offerings have increased in recent years.” – Hiroshima International School (64 Total Comments)

“The school offers no sports programs, and occasionally offers a drama Club to students, depending on teacher interest.” – Alexandria International Academy (78 Total Comments)

“Piloting the iPad initiative this year and also looking to expand the arts program with the addition of the multi-purpose hall that houses a mini-theater.” – Universal American School in Dubai (57 Total Comments)

“There are opportunities in the arts (dance, voice, musical instrumental, drama), a good number of sports offerings (climbing, competitive sports, etc.). Lots!” – American School of Dubai (98 Total Comments)

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Member Spotlights

Member Spotlight #37: Tr. Ponnumuthu Thankaraj (A veteran international school teacher from India)

April 30, 2017


Every so often International School Community is looking to highlight one of our members in our Member Spotlight blog category.  This month we interviewed Tr. Ponnumuthu Thankaraj:

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Tell us about your background.  Where are you from?

I am a Mathematics Teacher and I love teaching mathematics for slow learners as well as gifted ones. I have done my Masters of Science with Major Mathematics from Vinayaga Missions University, at Salem, India. Also I have a degree in Education from Tamilnadu Teachers Education University,  at  Chennai. I have done a E-Comerce cource from Informatics Computer Institute Noida, Delhi which helped me to involve students into modern technology. I had a training with Cambridge International Examinations for A and As Level Mathematics through Gandhi School, Anchol, Jakarta Indonesia. I had a nine months training from Institute for Total Revolution, Vedichhi, Valod District Gujaraat, India. During my school days, I used to be very shy in nature, but now I have improved a lot and able to Train the Trainer position for a couple of times. I am basically from a small town called Mondaikad at Kanyakumari District of Tamilnadu, India.

How did you get started in the international teaching community?

My first International Experience was with Holyland International School at Kathmandu, Nepal, which I went by train and bus as mode of travel around three thousand kilometers from my home town with extreme climatic change from 32 degree Celsius to -2 degree Celsius on January 9th 1993. Even though  there is no visa requirement to enter into Nepal,  I consider it as my first International Teaching Community.

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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.

   #. Holyland International School, Kathmandu, Nepal
   #. Greenland International School, Kathmandu,Nepal
   #. Learning Realm International School, (LRI) Kathmandu, Nepal
   #  Arena Multimedia, Noida, UP, India
   #  Under Ministry of Education, Republic of Maldives  3 schools
        Laimagu School, Shaviyani Attol,
        Male English School, Male’,
        Majeedyya  School, Male’
    # Cathedral Vidya School, Lonavala, Pune, India
    # Bina Bungsa School, Semarang & PIK-Jakarta, Indonesia
    # Under Gandhi Group of Schools
         Gandhi Memorial International School and
         Gandhi School, Anchol
    #  Singapore International School, PIK-Jakarta
    #  GemsEducation Our Own, Fujairah, UAE, and now at
    #  Ayyeyarwaddy International School, Mandalay, Myanmar.
By teaching in above schools I followed, national school curriculum, IGCSE, A & O-Level, IB and State Common  Core Syllabuses.

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

While working in Indonesia and Myanmar, the People are very polite and respectful. I was selected as “The Most Patient Teacher-Secondary” from Singapore International School made me to smile since it happened within three months time. From  AIS, Mandalay I had a lot of fun by riding motor bikes for 9 hours with a group of 7 teachers and the water-festival at school premises made me happy which one can feel it by experience only. Students happily call me Teacher Pon Pon; it makes me to smile at times. Implementing Student Centered Learning by the slogan “Each One Teach One” , gave me satisfaction of teaching learning through Peer and Teachers as well as one to one learning. At one instance, without knowing local language, my barber shaved my mustache instead of trimming it.  It makes me self-smile whenever I thought of the situation how it happened 🙂  It is really fun as we are here from different countries and being one family like environment during luncheon.

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

I prefer not to bargain for salaries, it should be according to the qualification and experiences as per the school.  I had couple of experiences to bargain it.  It really made me to think how can a Teacher to bargain like a business person with the school.  The complete Teacher Resources for the particular class should be provided by the school, which will save a lot of time of preparation of lessons, instead of searching the resource itself.  As I am highly capable of teaching middle school and High school, managing students is not  a concern for me. There should be free internet facility for additional search of ideas/ images/project models etc.

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

Training the Students to Become Global Citizen.

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Thanks Tr. Ponnumuthu Thankaraj!

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 one year free of premium access to our website!

Do you think you have what it takes to be a veteran international school teacher like Tr. Ponnumuthu Thankaraj?  What character traits does it take?  We have an article on our blog that discusses this very question. It is called the “Top 10 Character Traits of a Seasoned International School Teacher“. Read the whole article here.

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Member Spotlights

Member Spotlight #36: Cassandra Anthony (A teacher at Stamford American International School)

March 11, 2017


Every so often International School Community is looking to highlight one of our members in our Member Spotlight blog category.  This month we interviewed Cassandra White:

member spotlightTell us about your background.  Where are you from?

I’m originally from Sydney, Australia however as a child I lived in both Germany and the UK for various amounts of time. I first did a Music degree at the Sydney Conservatorium of Music, followed by a Graduate Diploma of Education at the University of New England, Australia. A couple of years after this, with an interest in Education Psychology which had been piqued whilst studying Music Education at the Conservatorium, I decided to do a Masters of Arts (Music Psychology in Education), at the University of Sheffield, UK. This masters degree really opened my eyes to the world of Academia as well and I’m currently halfway through a PhD in Music Education at the University of Queensland, Australia. I guess you could say I’m the eternal student!

How did you get started in the international teaching community?

The travel bug hit me big time in my early 20’s and I travelled extensively around Europe, Asia, the USA and Africa. I became very interested in the International School scene after meeting a music teacher who worked at WAB in Beijing and had been international for the last 15 years, this really opened my eyes to what could be an amazing lifestyle overseas whilst still teaching. This friend kept me in the loop of ‘good’ jobs that were coming up in various countries but due to study commitments, it wasn’t until I was 30 that I was truly ready to embark on an International School journey. I found my job on the schools website and applied, within a month I had a job interview and a job offer a few days after that. It was definitely a case of right place, right time for me.

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.

member spotlightI began working at Stamford American International School, Singapore in August last year. I have close friends who live in Singapore and have visited them very regularly so knew that Singapore was an ideal ‘first international school’ country for me. SAIS is an IB world school which also follows the AERO (American Education Reaches Out) standards, this was my first IB PYP experience and it’s been a learning curve but I absolutely love inquiry education and I’ve learnt so much in my first 8 months already. My school has a huge mix of nationalities, Americans, Canadians, Brits, Aussies, New Zealanders, as well as several other nationalities. It’s a cultural melting pot and it’s one of my favourite aspects of the school. My school is quite large with over 3000 students from 2 years-grade 12. The students are exposed to a wide variety of CCA’s and they have a Global Mentors Program which brings leaders in various fields to the school to give presentations and engage with the students, already this year we have had a Nobel Laureate, a Real Madrid soccer player and the ex-flautist of the London Symphony Orchestra visiting the school! 

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

Singapore is a unique place, a lot of people say it’s boring but there is so much to do here! I have funny cultural interactions with my colleagues a lot, I share my classroom with an American teacher and she has learnt a lot of Aussie slang from me! The first time I described a lesson as a ‘ripper’ she looked very concerned until I explained a ‘ripper’ meant a great lesson, it still makes me laugh! I can’t convince her to like vegemite for breakfast but she does love weetbix now! 

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

DO YOUR RESEARCH! I read as many reviews as I could possibly find about the school, read the good, the bad and the ugly so you can make the most informed choice. Find out about the professional development opportunities (ie if you’re new to a curriculum, will they send you on training?). Good leadership is also essential, ideally you want those in positions of authority to have several years of classroom experience behind them so they can be supportive of decisions for staff as well as students. The internet is such a powerful research tool now, use google maps and google images to find out about the location of the school, if there is accommodation nearby that is affordable or will you need to spend a lot of time in transit to and from, check out expat forums to get an idea of salary or prices of food/travel/transport. 

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

Exhilarating, Challenging, Adventurous, Broadening, Inspiring

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Thanks Cassandra!

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 one year free of premium access to our website!

Want to work for an international school in the Singapore like Cassandra?  Currently, we have 24 international schools listed in Singapore on International School Community. 13 of them have had comments submitted on their profiles. Here are just a few of them:

EtonHouse International School (Singapore) (Singapore, Singapore)30 Comments
International School Singapore (Singapore, Singapore)17 Comments
Nexus International School (Singapore, Singapore)22 Comments
One World International School (Singapore, Singapore)16 Comments
Overseas Family School Singapore (Singapore, Singapore)26 Comments
Singapore American School (Singapore, Singapore)44 Comments
Stamford American International School (Singapore, Singapore)47 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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The Journey to School

The Journey to School: Singapore American School

October 9, 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 Singapore American School (Singapore), described her way to work there as follows:

The road to Singapore American School…

It is no accident that I wake up each morning to sweeping views of the rainforest. Like all SAS teachers new to Singapore, we had to decide if we would live near the school in Woodlands at the northernmost point of the island or commit to more of a commute by living away from campus.  While many teachers make this decision based on their interest in being closer to the city center, we were looking for the opposite!  My family and I decided early on in the relocation process that living close to some sort of green space was a must.  Finding just such a spot in densely populated Singapore which also had all the necessary transport options was a challenge, but not impossible. Though, we do feel a little like we hit the jackpot with our condo.

Singapore American School

The MRT (train system) in Singapore is known for being efficient and punctual, which in my experience is definitely true.  What many people don’t realize is that the bus system is equally so!  I was tipped off by a fellow expat, (thanks Mette) who encouraged us to venture further away from the MRT stations and look for housing with a great bus route.  We hit the jackpot there too! Before we signed the lease, we did a practice run to the school and were very relieved to discover it was easy peasy. We’ve been for a while now and have our commute down to a smooth routine.

Here is our journey to Singapore American School in numbers:

5:15: time the alarm goes off (for the first time)

6:35: time I have to leave in order to make it to school around 7am (nice and early to get a head start on the day)

> 3: number of apps available which track public transport services and tip me off to when my next bus will come by.  On a perfect day, I can leave our condo and stroll to the bus stop just in time to walk onto the bus.  On the less than perfect days, rarely more than 10 minutes passes between busses.

23: number of floors we ride the elevator down. We’re not alone in our highrise living.  According to 2014 Singapore Housing statistics, over 80% of island residents live in HDBs, while a further 13% live in apartments and condos.  This means that a full 93% of the country’s inhabitants live high above the ground.  In that way, we are definitely amongst the majority with our one-floor-shy-of-the-penthouse condo.

up to 2: minutes of elevator time. The bus stop in front of our condo is max 200 meter as the crow flies from our front door, but I inevitably underestimate the vertical commute! Luckily, when I step off the elevator I’m greeted with a lush pool area and I’m reminded of one of the many reasons we made this move.

Singapore American School

26-29: degrees Celsius, the temperature that greets me each early morning as I stroll through aforementioned pool area. The temperatures vary very little here, with an almost daily high of 33 and nighttime low of 26. It’s easy to dress knowing exactly what the weather will be like each day (just remember to pack an umbrella). I’m not sure I’ll ever get used to the constant gloss of sweat, though.

2: number of taps of my school ID card it takes to pay for the bus ride to school-one to get on and one to get off.

S$1.30: bus fare each way

70-80%: passengers sleeping on the bus, head nodded forward or leaned awkwardly against a window.  I’ve noticed sleeping on the bus is a ‘thing’ here.  The result is a truly quiet ride, perfect for getting into the mental zone of the day.

4: languages (Malay, Tamil, Mandarin and English) bus sign are written in which is reflective of the cultural mix on the island.

0: sips of coffee I’ve taken since getting on the bus. I’ll avoid the $500 fine, thank you! I do miss the option of bringing my mug and a snack on the days when I’m running late though.

12-15: total bus ride, in minutes.

4: times per hour the school shuttle departs from Marsiling MRT station to the campus in case you want to skip the…

8: minutes walk between Marsiling MRT and campus.

Approximately 2 out of 5: days in a work-week that I get to witness a beautiful sunrise from the top deck of the bus.  On the days when I’m a little behind schedule, nature reminds me to slow down and enjoy the ride with one of these:

Millions: trees and plants lining the roadside. Singapore prioritizes landscaping in any new building project, roads included. While the result is a very manicured landscape, it certainly beats the concrete jungle. Having grown up in the Pacific Northwest and lived many years in Scandinavia, I do miss a good wild forest though.

Dozens:  motorcycles and scooters zooming by, weaving in and out of traffic, sometimes erratically.  

1*26’: distance of school from the equator. Because Singapore sits so close to the equator, the day is consistently 12hrs long: sun up 7:15ish, sundown 19:15ish.

At least 10: school busses backed up at the intersection leading to the school. Something like 80% of students arrive on school busses each morning. That requires dozens of busses and quite complex logistics. It works though, like a well-oiled machine.

7-8: security guards smiling, waving, standing watch at the school’s well-guarded main entrance.

S$2.50-4: price of a tasty Hawker Center meal. A bonus of the walk back to the bus stop from school in the afternoon is passing through the local Hawker Center where very inexpensive and tasty local food can be had.  Good for those late afternoons when the thought of cooking is just too much!

approx S$10: cost of a taxi home on the days that I can’t take the thought of an 8 minute walk to the bus stop after a loooong day. Taxis are relatively inexpensive here, especially compared to owning a car (astronomical, and purposely in order to keep the number of cars down). On taxi days, I’m home in less than 10 minutes.

There are days now and then when I wish we’d chosen to live in the neighborhood close to school. They are, however, far outnumbered by the days I look out over the jungle and am thankful that we stumbled upon this little gem. And, that all the numbers add up to a pleasant journey and a smooth start to our school day.

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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 what it is like to visit and live in Singapore?  Out of a total of 24 international schools we have listed in Singapore, 13 that have had comments submitted on them. Here are just a few:

EtonHouse International School (Singapore) (Singapore, Singapore)30 Comments

International School Singapore (Singapore, Singapore)17 Comments

Nexus International School (Singapore, Singapore)22 Comments

One World International School (Singapore, Singapore)16 Comments

Overseas Family School Singapore (Singapore, Singapore)26 Comments

Singapore American School (Singapore, Singapore)38 Comments

Stamford American International School (Singapore, Singapore)40 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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The Journey to School

The Journey to School: Xian Hi-Tech International School in China

August 27, 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 Xian Hi-Tech International School (Xian, China), described his way to work there as follows:

The road to XHIS…….

This is going to sound terribly stereotypical but one of the many reasons I love living in Shaanxi province is the potatoes! Now can you guess where I come from? I will tell you later. My journey to work each day is a very short one, but my journey to Xi’an has been a long one. I hope you enjoy reading about it.

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My name is Brian Lalor and I am in my third year at Xi’an Hi-Tech International School, in Shaanxi province in China. We are a two programme IB world school and are working towards offering three of the four excellent IB programmes. Our school is small at present with only 270 students but we are at capacity and have an exciting move to a new purpose-built campus coming up in August 2017.

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Each morning I get up and travel about four minutes to school! I know, the shortest ever commute, right? Our school is situated in residential area and all of our teachers’ apartments are located around the school. We are about 30 minutes from the city center in the southern suburbs. I ride my bicycle to school each day, that is why my journey is so short.

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On my journey to school I pass through the morning market. Here local vendors sell fruit, vegetables, nuts and breads for very reasonable prices. One of the wonderful advantages to living in Xi’an is the potential to save money. It is much easier to live here when compared to other big cities such as Beijing, Shanghai or Hong Kong. Our school pays for our apartment, flights, international health insurance and gives us a monthly allowance for living overseas. Before coming to Xi’an I worked in Ha Noi for nine years, and in Jakarta before that. Each city has its own advantages and disadvantages. The main disadvantages living in Xi’an are the standard of healthcare and the bad pollution in Winter.

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Some of the wonders Xi’an has to offer are as follows. We are literally just a short 25-minute car ride to the beautiful Qin Ling Mountains which provides us with a great way to escape the heat in summer and some lovely snowy landscapes in winter. Another highly attractive feature unique to this city, is its amazing millenary history, with archaeological sites found literally in every part of town, with the city wall being one of its main attractions. And who hasn’t heard of the world-famous “Terra Cota Warriors”. Xi’an was once the ancient capital of China so as you can imagine there are lots to see in and around the community.

If you have not guessed it I am born and bread Irish. Oh those lovely potatoes! The food here is incredible and you could literally have a potato dish, every day of the week. Some noodles are even made out of potato here!

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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 what it is like to visit and live in China?  Out of a total of 165 international schools there are 110 that have had comments submitted on them. Here are just a few:

Beijing BISS International School (Beijing, China)36 Comments

Beijing City International School (Beijing, China)31 Comments

Beijing International Bilingual Academy (Beijing, China)35 Comments

International School of Beijing (Beijing, China)25 Comments

Tsinghua International School (Beijing) (Beijing, China)95 Comments

Western Academy Beijing (Beijing, China)43 Comments

Changchun American International School (Changchun, China)50 Comments

QSI International School of Dongguan (Dongguan, China)64 Comments

Guangdong Country Garden School (Foshan, China)48 Comments

Guangzhou Huamei International School (Guangzhou, China)48 Comments

Harbin No. 9 High School International Division (Songbei Campus) (Harbin, China)45 Comments

American International School (Hong Kong) (Hong Kong, China)24 Comments

Canadian International School (Hong Kong) (Hong Kong, China)69 Comments

Creative Secondary School (Hong Kong, China)39 Comments

Hong Kong Academy (Hong Kong, China)34 Comments

Hong Kong International School (Hong Kong, China)104 Comments

Canadian International School Kunshan (Kunshan, China)28 Comments

Kang Chiao International School (Kunshan, China)41 Comments

Access International Academy (Ningbo) (Ningbo, China)48 Comments

British International School Shanghai – Puxi (Shanghai, China)35 Comments

Concordia International School (Shanghai) (Shanghai, China)86 Comments

Shanghai American School – Puxi (Shanghai, China)39 Comments

Shanghai Community International School (Shanghai, China)33 Comments

Shanghai Rego International School (CLOSED) (Shanghai, China)74 Comments

Shanghai United International School (Shanghai, China)40 Comments

Western International School of Shanghai (Shanghai, China)204 Comments

Yew Chung International School (Shanghai) (Shanghai, China)27 Comments

Buena Vista Concordia International School (Shenzhen, China)39 Comments

International School of Nanshan Shenzhen (Shenzhen, China)26 Comments

QSI International School of Shekou (Shenzhen, China)20 Comments

Suzhou Singapore International School (Suzhou, China)47 Comments

Wellington College International Tianjin (Tianjin, China)54 Comments

EtonHouse International Schools, Wuxi (Wuxi, China)49 Comments

Xian Hi-Tech International School (Xian, China)54 Comments

Zhuhai International School (Zhuhai, China)59 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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Comment Topic Highlight

How is the school calendar at your international school? Is there ample vacation time?

June 23, 2016


The school calendar is important, no doubt about that! It decides how many days of vacation you get, or course. We work hard, tireless hours during the school year, so we indeed deserve some breaks…and so do the kids!

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But when working at international schools, the school calendar that you are used to in your home country might look a bit different. If the international school is an American one, then the calendar does resemble a typical American public school one. Likewise for UK schools. For Australian international schools, it could either look the same or follow the more northern hemisphere school calendar depending on their location in the world.

But things get much better in international schools because they normally ALSO celebrate or honor the holidays of the host country as well. Double the holidays for teachers (well not really double)! Of course when your school celebrates the host country holidays that means the costs of travel will be high. Not good on your finances. If your international school celebrates your home country holidays though, then that is awesome because host country nationals won’t also be traveling at that time; meaning travel costs should be lower.

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Making a school calendar can be a challenging task for the administration. They need to keep all stake holders pleased. Careful attention needs to be paid to all the different variables that come into play during one year at a school. Otherwise later down the line, once that school year has started, some stakeholders could get upset and confused why things where scheduled and planned the way they were.

It is good to get an idea of what the calendar year will look like for you when considering working at an international school. Then you can get a better insight into what your life will be like that first year there, outside of work.

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Luckily, International School Community has a comment topic on our school profile pages related to what kind of budgets international schools offer, so you can stay the most informed as possible. It is called: “How is the school calendar?  Is there ample vacation time?

Our veteran international school teachers have submitted a total of 254 comments in this comment topic (June 2016).  Here are a few that have been submitted:

“The school has to follow Mexican law as far as contracted school days. It’s either 208 or 210. Honestly, it’s a pretty brutal work year. For 16/17 staff arrives on Aug. 9 and will be done on June 24. No fall break except for a few days at Thanksgiving.” –American School Foundation of Guadalajara (Guadalajara, Mexico)59 Comments

“Vacations are decided by the administration and it can vary from year to year.” – Good Shepherd International School (Ooty, India)185 Comments

“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)47 Comments

“The school calendar was reasonable and vacation time was fantastic.” – Suzhou Singapore International School (Suzhou, China)47 Comments

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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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Blogs of International Teachers

International School Teacher Blogs: “The Roaming Filipina” (A counselor working at Shekou International School in Shenzhen, China)

April 11, 2016


Are you inspired to start up a blog about your adventures living abroad and working at an international school?

Our 44th blog that we would like to highlight is called “The Roaming Filipina”  Check out the blog entries of this international school educator who works at Shekou International School in Shenzhen, China.

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A few entries that we would like to highlight:

How Did I Get Here?

“I attended my first Search fair in Cambridge, MA and came away with interview experience, but no job. ISM even left me a “thanks, but no thanks” note.  Frustrated, but undeterred.  Through that experience I learned that it wasn’t really about moving to the Philippines anymore, but about fulfilling my desire to explore the world.

About 2 weeks after the Cambridge fair, one listing caught my eye.  A listing for a whole school counselor at a school in Uzbekistan. YES UZBEKISTAN.  I waited a day or two to think about whether or not I really wanted to apply to this school.  Afterall, it is in a country that I knew so little about.  My boyfriend gave me a weird look, but said that I should do it if it’s what I really want.  I also sent resumes to more schools in the East Asia/SE Asia region and even considered teaching English somewhere.  But after perusing the school’s site thoroughly and reading every article I could possibly find on Google, I started to imagine myself living in Central Asia. It didn’t seem so bad.

I interviewed with the two principals and Head of School on Skype.  After a few days, they asked if I wanted to meet face to face in California. I was offered the position and I immediately accepted.  I spent three GREAT years in Uzbekistan…”

Getting your first job overseas is always exciting and typically makes for a great story to tell your international school teacher friends. 

Want to read more about what “newbies” to international school teaching should know about?  Check out our blog series called “For the Newbies.

Surviving the International School Job Fairs

Day Two and Three – Saturday & Sunday

This is THE HEART of the fair. It is the day you sign-up for interviews and will likely do all your initial interviews during this time. Do:

• WEAR YOUR POWER SUIT – DRESS TO IMPRESS

• organize your resumes, laptop, etc. I preferred to keep my laptop/iPad with me so I can work on stuff outside of my room – saved a lot of time vs. going back to my room between interviews.

• agree to interviews with schools that you’re not sure you’re interested in. Good for practice and you never know – it might be a GREAT fit for you.

• find a quiet corner besides your room to chill between interviews – you just never know who is walking around. Visibility is important.

• breathmints – use them

• prioritize which school tables you want to hit first during sign-ups. Some schools are REALLY popular so you might want to go to the ones that have shorter lines first and get interviews lined up.

• if you get a “fast pass”  – direct invitation from the school to bypass the line to schedule an interview, HIT THOSE SCHOOLS FIRST

• try to get to the interview 10 minutes before – don’t schedule your interviews so close together that you’d be late. Also – keep in mind that hotel elevators will be really busy, especially if there are 200+ candidates rushing to interviews...

Great advice from an experience international school teacher. Going to the recruitments fairs with a plan of attack is always a good choice.  Knowing ahead of time what to expect can better help you manage your emotions throughout the fair experience.

For more advice check out our blog series called Nine Lessons Learned Regarding International School Hiring Fairs.”  As a sneak peek, lesson number one is “Bad interviews are good things.

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Want to work for an international school in China like this blogger?  Currently, we have 160 international schools listed in this country. 109 have had comments submitted on them. Here are just a few:

Wellington College International Tianjin (Tianjin, China)47 Comments
EtonHouse International Schools, Wuxi (Wuxi, China)49 Comments
Suzhou Singapore International School (Suzhou, China)47 Comments
Western International School of Shanghai (Shanghai, China)202 Comments
British International School Shanghai – Puxi (Shanghai, China)35 Comments
Concordia International School (Shanghai) (Shanghai, China)77 Comments
Access International Academy (Ningbo) (Ningbo, China)48 Comments
Hong Kong International School (Hong Kong, China)92 Comments
Creative Secondary School (Hong Kong, China)39 Comments
Canadian International School (Hong Kong) (Hong Kong, China)55 Comments
QSI International School of Dongguan (Dongguan, China)64 Comments
Guangdong Country Garden School (Foshan, China)48 Comments
Tsinghua International School (Beijing) (Beijing, China)93 Comments
Western Academy Beijing (Beijing, China)43 Comments

Additionally, there are 264 International School Community members who currently live in China. Check out which ones and where they work here.  Feel free to go ahead and contact them with any questions that you might have as well; nice to get first hand information about what it is like to live and work there!

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

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Comment Topic Highlight

Which technologies are available at your international school and how are the staff using/not using them?

September 13, 2015


Sometimes it feels like we are working in an international school with the worst technology available. Looking around, teachers only see laptop computers and iPads that are so out-dated that their battery life is almost non-existent. These schools might also have interactive white boards that are not so “interactive” anymore, and staff just use them as overhead projectors instead.

Some international schools even have teachers that are scared of technology. They think they can’t or don’t need to use it; depending on staff they work with to “take-over” when a certain technology is needed for a lesson.

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It is not fun being de-motivated by technology that depresses you, confuses you or just plain doesn’t work.

On the flip side, many of us are working at international schools that are well-resourced in the latest technologies.  Everywhere a teacher looks, there are new technologies popping up around the school. Maybe there’s a teacher down the hallway is using a new App and having success, thus inspiring and prompting the other teachers to quickly get that app on their device as well. Exciting times!

These “technology-friendly” schools typically have an inspiring group of ICT teaching professionals on hand that are making sure the technologies are being used (and used effectively for that matter). The ICT teachers educate the students AND the teachers on how to use these technologies in an educational setting. Furthermore, they also collaborate and team-teach classes with classroom teachers during lessons that integrate use of technology.

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Cool technology is great in schools, but there’s a downside. If the technology is not literally in your classroom all the time, often it is not being used to its full potential (meaning the impact it can have on the students’ learning).  Having all technologies available in EVERY teacher’s room is just not a reality in most (all?) international schools.

But, there are dream stories that do happen. I heard a real story about a private international school situated in the mountains in Switzerland. This school wished to have some new computers, and surprisingly, one of the parents came to school the next day bringing with her many Mac computers (you can assume they were the latest version as well). There were enough new computers for all the students at the school (the school’s population wasn’t that large by the way).  Now that’s a nifty 1:1 programme that the school just adopted!

Not at international schools are so lucky though, and their teachers are left with years-old technologies to use with their students with little to no hope of a plan to upgrade everything (I mean it costs thousands of $$$ for schools to even try and stay up-to-date!).

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It is also a time-consuming job to keep a school updated with new technology.  There needs to be a clever person in charge and one that has a master plan on how to fund and organize a school’s technology resources. The big question then is which international schools have just gone through an overhaul of their technologies and which ones are currently at a stand still?

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Luckily, International School Community has a comment topic on our school profile pages related to figuring out what technology an international school has and how they use it, so you can stay the most informed as possible. It is called: “Describe the technologies available at the school and how people are/are not using them.

Our veteran international school teachers have submitted a total of 75 comments in this comment topic (Sept. 2015).  Here are a few that have been submitted:

“Teachers are provided with a MacBook and iPad for professional use. Elementary classrooms are stocked with a wide variety of technology: 1:1 iPads, Apple TV, Promethean boards with surround sound, iPad stands, projector…” – Singapore American School (Singapore, Singapore) – 17 Comments

“The technologies available are reasonably good. Most classrooms have projectors and some even have the interactive white boards. Teachers usually have a computer in their classroom to work on and laptops can be borrowed by staff to use at home if absolutely necessary. The IT department has a full computer suit with reasonably modern computers and printer etc. but you would have to ask permission if this could be used for any other lesson than ICT.” – Wesgreen International Private School (Sharjah, United Arab Emirates) – 23 Comments

“2015-16 – Currently overhauling IT department and school IT infrastructure to support high-speed internet across the campus. Has a computer lab with 25 computers available for students. Teachers are provided desktop computers for classroom use.” –American Pacific International School (Chang Mai, Thailand) – 18 Comments

“The school has site-wide high-speed broadband (20mb) with a really hardworking tech support team. All teachers are required to operate in a blended learning environment with Moodle. This has been introduced over the last two years as part of the board’s new KICS 2020 strategy to integrate C21 approaches to learning. There is a full time EdTech integration coordinator who supports us all as we build our Moodle classes.” – Khartoum International Community School (Khartoum, Sudan) – 65 Comments

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Member Spotlights

International School Community Member Spotlight #33: Tchialian Hong (A former student at an international school in Greece)

September 1, 2015


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

DSCN0579Tell us about your background.  Where are you from?

I was born to a Greek mother and a Chinese father. Greece and China: Two cultures both with ancient civilizations dating back, since today, at least 2,000 years.    

Which international schools have you attended?  Please share some aspects of the schools that made them unique and fun places in which to attend.

As a boy, I went to a Chinese primary school-which was in Malaysia, and later an international school in Athens, Greece. By the age of 16, I was fluent in Mandarin (standard Chinese language: Also known as: pu tong hua), Greek, English and Bahasa Malaysian (which is the language that the natives of Malaysia, Singapore and Indonesia speak). After graduating from high school, I studied at London University. During that time, I spent a lot of time reading other subjects, aside from engineering: thus became well-grounded in Engineering, Medicine, English Literature and Common Law.

I returned to Malaysia after graduating from London University. I had found my time, when I was studying in Tasis Hellenic International School, very productive – much more so than even London University. The student to teacher ratio was very small: very few students per teacher – which means subjects were explained very clearly – compared to local schools in Asian countries such as Malaysia. I found that with such a learning environment, all I had to do was “put in the hours” or rather finish the homework for the day, every day; and would be certain to score high results in my examinations as well as the final grades.

On this note: Another plus for international schools was that the final grades were calculated; not only on examination results, but also on attendance, homework, coursework, and small tests. This means: EVERY ounce of my effort in my studies……COUNTED. It was really encouraging. I scored A’s for all subjects: including Physics, Chemistry, Biology, Geography, History, English Language, English Literature, Mathematics and Computer Programming. Later, when I studied at London University, I used my studies-foundation at the international school to expand on my knowledge.

I also learnt how to teach: I was offered a camp counsellor’s position in Camp Vacamas, New Jersey, U.S.A. In the beginning, all the campers yawned at me, but not at other counsellors. I later learnt, in subsequent teaching stints, in Malaysia: where I taught Chinese children, Indian children AND the local native children from Malaysia, Indonesia, and Myanmar: that “yawning” was a sign that I was very explicit in explaining lessons, and very specific: The children were actually realizing concepts, learning material which I was teaching. Today, I chat with children more than teach-much like international school teachers did when I was a teenager. You see, aside from school material, children want to know politics, philosophy-especially philosophy. Philosophy shapes souls. Empowers it.

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

Cultural shock: Asian kids do not behave like European kids. They can be very nasty, as in: disrespect, crude. If you admonish them, even verbally, their parents threaten you. Most of them leave school and get pregnant before they are of-age. The secret is: sometimes a teacher in Asia has to act like he is not smart. And say: God Bless-Asians are very superstitious.

What makes some international schools unique and special?

International Schools are special because of the philosophy and the politics: At least the one I went to – Tasis Hellenic International School. Ideas and principles are raised from “the four corners of the Earth.” There are students from the four corners of the Earth, that’s why it is called an international school. ANYTHING and EVERYTHING is discussed. Advice is sought, until, like a sword that is tempered by repeated hammering, heating and cooling, A FOUNDATION IS ESTABLISHED! 

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

Diverse, empowering, encouraging, defining, happy. (God bless everybody!)

Thanks Tchialian Hong!

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 and teach in Greece or Cyprus?  Currently, we have 8 international schools listed in both Greece and Cyprus on International School Community. Here are a few that have had comments and information submitted on their profiles:

• American International School of Cyprus (17 comments)
• International School of Paphos (51 comments)
• American Community Schools Athens (3 comments)

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Comparing the Schools and Comments

Comparing the Schools and Comments: Working in Singapore

August 13, 2015


Around the world, there are cities that have more than one international school. Many times there is an American school, a British School, and an international school that uses an international curriculum.

Some cities, though, have MANY international schools!  When that is the case, how do the comments about each school compare to each other?

This blog series looks at comparing some of these comments, all coming from international schools in the same city.

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Singapore

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

Schools with the most submitted comments:
EtonHouse International School (Singapore) (30 comments)
ACS (International) Singapore (10 comments)
International School Singapore (17 comments)
One World International School (16 comments)
Overseas Family School Singapore (16 comments)
Singapore American School (17 comments)
St. Joseph’s Institution International (7 comments)

School’s Location

“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 staff take the MRT (subway) or a bus to school. Many also ride bicycles. You choose where you want to live, so you can be as close or as far as you want from the school.” – Canadian International School (Singapore)

“The campus is located in the east coast of Singapore close to East Coast Park and seafront. It is approximately 8 kilometres from CBD & 15 kilometres to the airport.” – Etonhouse International School (Singapore)

“It has an excellent location. It is right next to the Orchard Road metro stop. 5-10 minute walk from that metro station exit. Orchard Road is one of the main shopping and commercial distract. Plenty of malls, stores and food options. Teachers don’t tend to live centrally because it can be more expensive.” – International School Singapore

“The school campus is in the eastern area/coast of Singapore. It could take you 20 minutes or so to get to the center of the city.” – One World International School

Hiring Policy

“SAS attends the London Fair, but many teachers are also hired via Skype interview.” – Singapore American School

“OFS normally does not advertise and they do not go to any recruiting fairs. Hiring process is by CV received and the need of what teacher for the next year.” – Overseas Family 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.” – International School Singapore

“The school prefers to hire western expatriates with at least 3 to 5 years experience. 60 years old is the age limit for hiring. Singapore has stringent entry criteria so single teachers are preferred by the school.” – Etonhouse International School (Singapore)

Housing Allowance

“Refund of actual rent amount and allowance up to a cap of US$1000 per month.” – Singapore American School

“You get 2000 Singapore dollars for a housing allowance (which is included in your salary) for a single teacher.” – International School Singapore

“Housing allowance is more like 1500 USD.” – One World International School

“Housing is 2000$, quite low considering cost of living.” – Etonhouse International School (Singapore)

Other Benefits

“Settling-in allowance 750 Sing. Moving allowance 500 Sing. Flight allowance is every two years. Teachers get free lunch at school.” – Etonhouse International School (Singapore)

“There is a paid flight here and back to the country of origin at the end of that first contract. Flights remain at every two years after the first contract. There is an allowance of 1000 Singapore dollars at the beginning and end of the contract to transport personal effects.” – International School Singapore

“I got 350 USD for a moving allowance. You get a return airfare to your home every two years.” – One World International School

“Annual home leave (excursion fare), based on home of record. Settling-in allowance is $1500, double for married couples. There is a moving allowance, it is based on weight/volume.” – Singapore American School

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

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Blogs of International Teachers

Blogs of international school teachers: “Travelling Teacher” (A teacher working at Chatsworth International School)

May 22, 2015


Are you inspired to start up a blog about your adventures living abroad?

Our 41st blog that we would like to highlight is called “Travelling Teacher: Working in an International School Overseas”  Check out the blog entries of this international school educator who currently works at Chatsworth International School in Singapore.

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A few entries that we would like to highlight:

New Staff Orientation

“The next morning bright and early at 8.30 am a fancy Dulwich College Suzhou.

The coach pulls up at my compound (you can see some of the fleet more than 30 school coaches in the background of the school grounds here). I was sooo tired after my journey the previous day encompassing three airports, two flights and over 24 hours travelling. At least I wasn’t the only one-there were 35 new hires on board equally bleary-eyed. Off we went to get our SIM cards for China.

Then it was off for lunch with the Headmaster and some of the rest of the staff, followed by a shopping trip to WalMart for housewares and food! I sure wasn’t expecting to go shopping in a store that is so familiar to me.

The following day the coach took us to an Ikea store (another big surprise for me that this store was in China) for anything else we wanted for our apartments. What a hoot seeing sleeping babies in the show-rooms with equally exhausted adults! I’m impressed with the care the school is taking to settle us new staff-members in.…”

New teacher orientation is super important!  All international school aim for a smooth transition for their new hires. 

Want to read more about some new teacher orientation must-haves at international schools?  Check out our popular blog category called “New Teacher Orientation Must-Haves.” 

International Substitute Teaching

“I got my current job as an English B teacher at Chatsworth International School in Singapore through an agency called True Teaching. This was a very different experience than the ‘meat market’ feeling of the large recruiting fair  I went to in London for my job in China. Instead I registered with True Teaching for their Flying Squad for International Substitute/Supply teaching. After a personal interview with Skype online I was offered several overseas placements and accepted my job in Singapore.

http://www.trueteaching.com

It is good to know how an international school does to hire new teachers. It gives you great insight on how YOU can get a job there! 

Want to learn more about how international school teachers get hired at international schools around the world?  Luckily, we have a comment topic on our school profile pages related to this theme 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?”  Here are a few examples of comments from this topic:

‘The school has a low turnover of teachers and does not participate in recruiting fairs. The Director responds to cv’s received from whatever source. Teacher qualification is required. Experience with Scottish curriculum ideal.’ – New International School of Japan (Tokyo, Japan)16 Comments

‘There are many internal hires (e.g. local hires) that happen at CIS. These are candidates that have been substitute teachers here for a year or so. Vacancies pop up here all the time, so the local candidates are very eager to secure full time positions (e.g. continuing contracts).’ – Copenhagen International School (Copenhagen, Denmark)231 Comments

‘The previous school director attended the Search Associates recruiting fair in London. The new director has used the CIS website, Search Associates website, and the school’s website to post the new vacancies at the school.’ –American School of Bilbao (Bilbao, Spain)10 Comments

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Want to work for an international school in Singapore like this blogger?  Currently, we have 21 international schools listed in this country. Here are a few that have had comments submitted on them:

• ACS (International) Singapore (Singapore, Singapore)10 Comments
• 
Australian International School (Singapore) (Singapore, Singapore)4 Comments
• 
Canadian International School (Singapore) (Singapore, Singapore)9 Comments
• 
Chatsworth International School (Singapore, Singapore)6 Comments
• 
EtonHouse International School (Singapore) (Singapore, Singapore)30 Comments
• 
International School Singapore (Singapore, Singapore)17 Comments
• 
One World International School (Singapore, Singapore)16 Comments
• 
Overseas Family School Singapore (Singapore, Singapore)16 Comments
• 
Singapore American School (Singapore, Singapore)11 Comments
• 
St. Joseph’s Institution International (Singapore, Singapore)7 Comments

Additionally, there are 41 International School Community members who currently live in South Korea. Check out which ones and where they work here.  Feel free to go ahead and contact them with any questions that you might have as well; nice to get first hand information about what it is like to live and work there!

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

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Traveling Around

Traveling Around: Hong Kong, China (The life of an international school teacher is good!)

March 14, 2015


Get inspired to make your next travel plan!

Traveling Around: Hong Kong, China

Can you relate?

• Being overwhelmed by the thousands of people you see as you are getting out of the metro system.
• Trying your best to just walk in a straight line on a sidewalk because of all the people around you trying to also walk in a straight line to their destination.
• Enjoying the wonderful view of the mountains and sea and thinking how nice it would be to live here.

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• Keeping your head looking up to the sky as you are walking around the city because of all the amazingly tall skyscrapers.
• Finding it very cool to get the chance to walk into a little temple and observe the locals in a non-obtrusive way.
• Being surprised to find that the normal grocery stores here have a wide range of products, including many products from my home country. How nice!
• Walking around the city and randomly running into the local zoo, realizing it is free and taking advantage of looking at all the cool animals on offer.

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• Loving looking at all the large signs on each street, how they jet out over the streets.
• Eating at a more ‘local’ restaurant and getting the chance to eat some of the seasonal dishes on offer.
• Finding out that expats here can go to mainland China for some time, to go shopping, without having a tourist visa.
• Feeling lucky to go up to the peak on a cloudless, sunny day. The view is really outstanding.

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• Running into a school that had outside walls that were so colorful and inviting.
• Riding on the old trams in the downtown area and finding out that they were shipped over long ago from somewhere in the UK I think.
• Taking a ride on a smaller city bus and seeing that there was a number sign telling how fast that the driver was driving.
• Enjoying eating at the non-restaurants places, like the ones that just have take-away food available, such tasty food!

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• Being astounded hearing about how much apartments actually cost there, so expensive!
• Hearing Cantonese being spoken through the city, but then not really meeting anyone that didn’t also speak English.
• Finding it surprising how much there was discrimination between Hong Kongers and mainland Chinese people.

Currently we have 29 international schools listed in Hong Kong on International School Community. Here are the ones that have had comments submitted on them:

 American International School (Hong Kong) (Hong Kong, China) – 24 Comments

• Hong Kong Academy Primary School  (Hong Kong, China) – 34 Comments

• Hong Kong International School  (Hong Kong, China) – 62 Comments

• International Christian School (Hong Kong) (Hong Kong, China) – 19 Comments

• Singapore International School (Hong Kong) (Hong Kong, China) – 14 Comments

• Yew Chung International School (Hong Kong) (Hong Kong, China) – 17 Comments

If you are on a trip right now, away from your host country, write to us at admin@internationalschoolcommunity.com with your “Can you relate?” traveling experiences.  Tell us where you are traveling in the world, what you are seeing and how you are coping with any culture shock.  Once your Traveling Around experience is posted on our blog, International School Community will give you SIX free months of premium membership!

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Comparing the Schools and Comments

Comparing the Schools and Comments: Working in Shanghai, China

February 28, 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?

Our new blog series will look at comparing some of these comments, all coming from international schools in the same city.

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Shanghai, China

Currently, we have 25 schools listed in Shanghai on International School Community.

Schools with the most submitted comments:
Yew Chung International School (Shanghai) (Shanghai, China) – 50 Comments
Shanghai Community International School (Shanghai, China) – 33 Comments
Shanghai American School – Puxi (Shanghai, China) – 18 Comments
Concordia International School (Shanghai) (Shanghai, China) – 37 Comments
British International School Shanghai – Puxi (Shanghai, China) – 25 Comments
Western International School of Shanghai (Shanghai, China) – 146 Comments

Salaries
“You can expect to make 16000 RMB a month after taxes.” – Singapore International School (Shanghai)

“Base pay for teachers with 3 or more yrs of experience is between $32,000 and $39,000 (tax-free). Entry level is a little bit lower at $26,000-$32,000.” – Shanghai Community International School

“I would say that teachers NET is around 21000 – this must be dependent on teaching experience etc” – Shanghai United International School

“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.” – Western International School of Shanghai

Hiring Policy
“Teachers need to have at least two years of teaching experience in order to be considered.” – Concordia International School (Shanghai)

“WISS starts recruiting early but is very fair to its teachers. Those who “may” leave have their position advertised and only have to make a final decision when someone has been found as a replacement.” – Western International School of Shanghai

“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)

“They attend Search Associates in January. They advertise in TES and through Teachanywhere.com. They interview in person or via Skype.” – British International School Shanghai – Pudong

Recent things the school has taken on
“A few years ago, the school decided it was important to do open houses (like other international schools in Shanghai) and that added a lot more work for the teachers. But hopefully they discontinued that this year.” – Yew Chung International School (Shanghai)

“The school is now implementing ‘high performance learning’ initiative which is being implemented across all the Nord Anglia Schools” – British International School Shanghai – Puxi

“There were many accomplishments from staff and students. It is amazing how many different areas were top notch: Sports, drama department, music program, Chinese language and much more.” – Shanghai Community International School

Housing
“Furnished 2-bedroom for single & married teachers, not sure about families. Furnished means basic furnishings including TV, sofa, dining table & chairs, beds & bedding, bath linens, kitchen appliances, & basic cooking utensils & dishes. After one year, staff can opt to take housing allowance instead of school housing. Most people are satisfied with housing overall, although sometimes it takes several “reminders” for repairs or service requests in school apts. Utility costs vary but are fairly cheap. My average for electricity, gas, & water is 100-200 RMB per month. Internet is 1,400 RMB per year. Mobile phone depends on plan/amount of data.” – Yew Chung International School (Shanghai)

“Housing is provided by WISS for the 1st year. Teachers can decide for themselves for subsequent years whether they want to stay in the provided accommodation or find their own place.” – Western International School of Shanghai

“Hosing allowance provided but most staff pay a bit more out of their own pocket to live in more desirable areas Staff can chose to stay in school housing” – British International School Shanghai – Puxi

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

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Blogs of International Teachers

Blogs of international school teachers: “Farleys Far Away” (An American teaching couple at Korea International School Seoul)

February 19, 2015


Are you inspired to start up a blog about your adventures living abroad?

Our 40th blog that we would like to highlight is called “Farleys Far Away”  Check out the blog entries of these international school educators who work at Korea International School (Seoul) in South Korea.

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A few entries that we would like to highlight:

How Did This Happen?

“A very, very long time ago, Jim decided to teach in Taipei, Taiwan. He lived there for 2 years and met me when he got back. That was 12 long awesome years ago. This entire time he’s told me how he would like to move back to East Asia. For 11 years I said, “No. Way. Jose.

Then, at the beginning of this school year, there were rumblings of change at my school. Our state assessment scores left something to be desired (something being, native English speakers from the middle or upper class) and there are a couple of ways the district “fixes” this problem. One of those ways is by letting all the teachers go. If you have tenure, like me, they’ll place you for one year, then after that year, you’re on your own. It’s pretty bleak and I was sad to leave a staff of extremely talented, caring teachers, but what can you do? I know what you can do-you can leave the country!

We signed up for the Overseas Recruitment Fair at the University of Northern Iowa. That was an intense weekend. On the flight to Cedar Rapids we were sitting next to the middle school principal at Korea International School. Korea hadn’t really been on the radar, but after a brief interview on Sunday, and then several Skype interviews, and a little bit of research into life in Korea we were on our way.

That’s how it happened. 11 years of convincing and one quick weekend of deciding…”

Many times you need to wait until the right moment in time to start your career in international school teaching. Some teachers wait one year while others wait 12!

Want to learn more about what it is like to go to an international school recruitment fair?  Check out our popular blog category called “9 Lessons Learned Regarding International School Hiring Fairs.” 

Really? But Jim’s Out of Town

“Let me start by saying, everyone is fine. But we’re experiencing the health care system here in Korea. On Sunday, about 15 minutes before Jim left for his trip to Singapore, I had him check out August’s *ahem* you know. Well, things weren’t looking so good down there (it turns out August has a hernia). I called the director of KIS‘ wife, who is a nurse. She was very reassuring over the phone, so I allowed Jim to go to Singapore.

My boss recommended I get him checked out at the Baylor Clinic in Jeongja, which is very close to us. We found the building with no problem and made it to the clinic-on the 2nd floor. There are 2 floors to the clinic. Both say “Baylor Clinic” in English, but the rest is in Korean. The 2nd floor clinic had people in the waiting room, but no receptionist. We sat and as I looked around, I saw at least 2 signs that said “Audiology” so we decided to go to the 3rd floor clinic.

When we got there, I called Raina, our bilingual school nurse, and had her talk to the receptionist. It turns out the Baylor Clinic is an ENT. Good for a sore throat but probably not so good below the waist. However, Raina found out that there is a pediatrician on the 6th floor of the same building. Awesome.

As we waited for the elevator in front of a bank, a teller ran out and handed August a handful of candy, so he was in good spirits about the trip. He seriously had like 8 pieces of candy in his hands.

Ah yes, this is more like it…”

It is hard to know what going to the hospital will be like when living in a foreign country. You sure have some great memorable moments and not so great moments.  

Want to learn more about what international school teachers think of the local hospitals in their host countries?  Luckily, we have a comment topic on our school profile pages related to this theme called “Health insurance and medical benefits. Describe your experiences using these benefits and going to the local hospitals.”  Here are a few examples of comments from this topic:

‘We have insurance with Metlife valid throughout the world. We also have a supplemental emergency medical evacuation insurance with AMREF. There is basic local care, but for serious or more difficult cases, evacuation to either South Africa or Nairobi is necessary.’ – International School of Tanganyika  (Dar es salaam, Tanzania) – 140 Comments

‘Health insurance is okay, not great, but not awful. Co-pays range from 10-20% at some more expensive hospitals and international medical centres. Dental coverage included but again 0-30% copay depending on the procedure (cavities are covered 100%, root canals are not, for example). Local hospitals are a mixed bag. Some great, some very “Chinese” in their approach to medicine. Would recommend that you ask coworkers for referrals and get prior approval from insurance company whenever possible. In Shanghai, you will be able to find a competent, western-educated specialist in any & every medical field, although you may have to search a bit.’ – Yew Chung International School (Shanghai) (Shanghai, China) – 50 Comments

Want to work for an international school in South Korea like this blogger?  Currently, we have 28 international schools listed in this country. Here are a few that have had comments submitted on them:

• Daegu International School (Daegu, South Korea) – 15 Comments
• International School of Koje (Geoje, South Korea) – 51 Comments
Dwight School Seoul (Seoul, South Korea) – 35 Comments
• Seoul Foreign School  (Seoul, South Korea) – 45 Comments
• Seoul International School  (Seoul, South Korea) – 82 Comments
• Colegio Granadino Manizales (Manizales, Colombia) – 43 Comments
Yongsan International School of Seoul (Seoul, South Korea) – 57 Comments

Additionally, there are 63 International School Community members who currently live in South Korea. Check out which ones and where they work here.  Feel free to go ahead and contact them with any questions that you might have as well; nice to get first hand information about what it is like to live and work there!

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

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Top 10 Lists

Top Ten Tips For International School Teachers To Build A Solid Retirement

December 17, 2014


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.

So, what are the top 10 tips for international school teachers to build a solid retirement?

8593533521_f6c29c0913_z#1 – Work at a school that allows you to save at least $18,000 USD as a single or at least $25,000 USD a year as a couple.

If you can’t save at least this amount, and you’re not just “experiencing” international teaching for a year or two, then go home or find another school. Otherwise, you might be eating dog food when you retire.

At private international schools abroad, you won’t be contributing to Social Security (for Americans) or its foreign equivalents. Nor are you contributing to a defined benefit pension plan, offering guaranteed income for life. Don’t glibly suggest that Social Security or your home country equivalent won’t be around when you retire. In one form or another, it will.

No, you don’t need to work at a top-tier school to save these amounts. Meet Andreas Clesle. He saves $20,000 a year teaching in Myanmar.

#2 – Work at a school that doesn’t FORCE YOU to invest in an offshore pension. How can you tell?   Ask this one question: Can I pull my money out, at any time, without penalty? If the answer is no, find another school. These are usually expensive, inflexible products. They cost so much in hidden fees, that the only person they make rich is the joker who’s selling the product. Unfortunately, many international school administrators haven’t caught on to the racket. When their recruitment pools start drying up, perhaps they’ll start asking why.

#3 – Pay off your student loans, car loans and credit card debts before investing. Then, invest at the beginning of every month. Those that invest while carrying credit card debt are categorically insane. They’re paying interest of 18 percent per year (or more) and expecting to make 9 percent per year in the stock market.  Enough said.

5206199427_b32a919a36_z#4 – Buy low-cost index funds. Avoid buying actively managed funds. Active funds are pricey.

The Alexander Beard Group is a favorite among financially illiterate administrators. The firm sells actively managed funds. But Jeri Hurd, at the Western Academy of Beijing, is one of the smart teachers who refused to invest. Including the company’s platform costs and actively managed fees, investors pay more than 3 percent per year. So if global stocks make 6 percent, investors will be giving away 50 percent of their profits to the firm. If global stocks average 3 percent in a given year, investors will give 100 percent of their profits to the firm. If you think bonuses, paid by your school, can offset this leakage, think again.

#5 – Don’t let anyone convince you to trade currencies. Trading currencies is not investing. It’s speculating. The only person who makes money, long-term, will be the broker or the bank. And they’ll be making their money from you—not for you. Here, I describe a woman at my former school. Her bank decided to trade currencies on her behalf. It’s a very foolish move indeed.

#6 – Diversify your assets. This means buying a variety of low-cost funds (preferably indexes) allowing exposure to a multitude of different markets: your home country stock market, international stocks, and a bond market product for added stability.

#7 – Don’t base investment decisions on economic outlooks or predictions. Most of them prove to be wrong. The average person listens to forecasts. Often, it’s their broker’s. But consider this. U.S. stocks averaged more than 9 percent per year from 1994-2014. According to Dalbar, the average investor in U.S. stocks made about 5 percent a year during the same time period. Why? The biggest culprit is behavior. They listened to their gut, and to investment speculators.   Remember what Warren Buffett says: “Stock market forecasters exist to make fortune tellers look good.”

Financial injection

#8 – Share your annual savings goal with your friends. Studies show that if you want to succeed, write down your goals and track your progress. If you don’t want to save enough for retirement, keep it all to yourself and ignore your expenses.

#9 – Write down what you spend each month. By writing down your spending, you’ll simply spend less.

#10 – Remember that you aren’t on a holiday. You’re working overseas. And your future is in your hands.

TAH in Lod Cavehis top 10 list was submitted to us by a guest author Andrew Hallam.  He is the author of The Global Expatriate’s Guide To Investing. He’s a columnist for AssetBuilder and for The Globe and Mail. He’s also the author of the international bestseller, Millionaire Teacher. He taught at Singapore American School from 2003-2014.

 

Check out the pension plan details of 100s of international schools on our website.  Currently, we have 336 comments that have been submitted on the comment topic “Pension plan details” on our school profile pages. Here are just a few of them:

“There are 2 things: 1. Mexico has a “social security” plan and you pay into that so you pay in for your years, leave, and you can come back when you are 65 to collect. 2. The school has a 13% matching program that you can collect 1 or 2 times a year based on your choosing. This is the retirement plan but it is up to you to do move the money somewhere.” – American School Foundation of Monterrey (Monterrey, Mexico) – 34 Comments

“For certain nationalities, the required contributions for staff member and school into the Employee Provident fund are locked in until the age of 60 so people leave without this money and no hope for ever retrieving it.” – Kodaikanal International School (Kodaikanal, India) – 53 Comments

“The school provides no pension, but 9% is deducted from the monthly paycheck to pay into IPS, which is sort of like Social Security. If a teacher retires in Paraguay, he or she will receive money through IPS. So for the most part, saving for retirement is in the hands of the foreign hires; they must have the discipline to do it themselves.” – American School of Asuncion (Asuncion, Paraguay) – 58 Comments

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Discussion Topics

The new seasoned international school teachers have arrived at your school…and they won’t stop complaining!

November 6, 2013


https://4.bp.blogspot.com/_khdFP9RCQSw/TS92L09rhjI/AAAAAAAAAMs/C4D4KbCKVN4/s1600/Bla+Bla+Bla.jpgEvery year, they come streaming in, fresh, bright faces, full of potential and wonder! They bring with them the hope of change, growth and new ideas.

Then they open their mouths and the dreaded phrase comes out, maybe at lunch or during a casual conversation, the phrase that immediately fills you with dread because you know what´s coming next, ¨well, at my last international school…¨

New Teachers.

I was one of them. Twice. And I know myself being 100% at fault for being that person, that teacher who constantly compared and contrasted this international school to that international school, this city to that city, these benefits to those, etc…

I´m surprised I was able to make friends at my new school with how much I droned on about my last school in Singapore! How anybody could stomach sitting with me at lunch, I don´t know!

When I was asked to guest write this article this was the first idea that popped into my head. Maybe it´s because school has only been in session a little over 6 weeks and I’m still hearing the harping voices of new teachers about their last international schools and cities. I understand that these people were hired for a reason, they´re bringing experiences, wealth of knowledge and resources from their previous schools to help our school. But there has got to be a better way with which they decide to share this information!

DC WASHINGTON SWITCH

Here are top 10 annoying things New Teachers say (though it is partial to my current international school, I´m sure some people can relate!)

At my last school…

1. We got paid more and had better benefits

Well that´s too bad, maybe you should have inquired more into the package here!

2. The students were more respectful and not as loud.

Maybe it´s time to brush up on your behavior management skills and routines!

3. All the parents and children spoke English

You´re a teacher, it´s your job to teach the children English, as for the parents, figure it out, I´m sure there is a treasure trove of translators at your school!

4.  We were a Mac school and all the teachers got Ipads. Plus, the facilities were great

I wonder if people actually research into where they get their new jobs or where they are moving to?

5. Lunch is so gross and oily

Can´t really complain about a free lunch with unlimited salad, fruit and yogurt.

6. Everyone was friends and did everything together.

That´s because you probably worked together for two or more years and built that friendship, friendships aren´t built in a week during orientation. If you want to be more social, take initiative and plan something!

In my last city/country…

7.  It wasn´t such a long commute to get to the school

Buy a car or moto then, or maybe even try biking to school!

8. We had Health Care Benefits and the doctors all spoke English.

Hey, so do we….and it´s FREE! As for the language, maybe try learning it!

9. This city is so dirty and smelly.

Where else can you live that has a beach, city and mountain within a 10 mile radius?

10.  Everyone spoke English.

Then why would you ever move to a non-English speaking country?

While we all hold our last international schools and previous placements (most of the time!) in a higher light and we try to hold on to those fond memories and experiences, New Teachers need to remember that things mustn’t have been all peaches and cream at their last school or placement, there had to have been reasons why they decided to leave, there had to be reasons why they chose to move to their new school/country…and those are the things that we ALL need to focus on.

This article was submitted by guest author and International School Community member: Tessa McGovern.

(Originally hailing from Connecticut, but a true New England-er through and through, I was born to two fun loving Irish folks who instilled the love of culture, tradition and travel at ripe young age. I spent the majority of my childhood traveling back and forth between the US and  Ireland/England, visiting family and thus began my life abroad.  After graduating from Springfield College (Massachusetts) and with a bit of luck, a colleague recommended a job in Singapore, which in turn started my International Teaching Career. After a few years in Singapore, it was time to head somewhat closer to home and I landed a job at the American School of Barcelona, teaching 4th and 5th Grade, where I´m currently at.  Food, traveling, reading, family/friends and football (Gaelic) are the few things I can´t live without!)

Have a discussion topic you’d like to share on the IS_Community blog? Want to earn free premium membership to our website? Contact us here if you’d like to become one of our next guest authors.

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Member Spotlights

International School Community Member Spotlight #28: Denes Tilistyak (An international school educator currently working at Western International School of Shanghai)

October 1, 2013


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

  Denes Tilistyak and sonsTell us about your background.  Where are you from?

I was born, grew up, and graduated from college (BA in Mathematics and English Language and Literature) in Hungary. During my third year of college I found a flyer by the college entrance showing “Teach in New York” and I immediately got interested. As a result, I got in touch with AAECA (Austrian American Educational Cooperation Association) that was recruiting teachers to the Big Apple from all over Europe. I traveled to Vienna for an interview and, after I was accepted, for a weekend workshop. From then on it all worked out quite smoothly and just about a month after being handed my college diploma I found myself on a plane heading for New York City. After the initial chaos in NYC I was placed in Walton High School to teach 9th-10th grade Mathematics. After one year I was reassigned to teach at Bronx High School for Law and Community Service and remained there for the following two years. During this time I met and married a Filipina and then we decided to move to the Philippines.

After teaching three years in the NYC public school system I got a position as Secondary Mathematics teacher at Cebu International School. There I got familiar with international teaching and the IB Diploma Programme. After my initial two-year contract with CIS I moved on to teach Upper School Mathematics at Xiamen International School in China, where I taught in both the Middle Years Programme (MYP) and the Diploma Programme (DP). During my 2nd and 3rd year at XIS I was appointed the Head of the Mathematics Department and for my final two years I held the position of the Diploma Programme coordinator as well as Pamoja Education’s Site-Based Coordinator.

After my five years in Xiamen I recently moved to Shanghai to continue teaching Secondary Mathematics at Western International School of Shanghai (WISS).

How did you get started in the international teaching community?

My first international school experience was in the Philippines, in Cebu city at Cebu International School. Through them I got introduced to International Baccalaureate’s Diploma Programme and became a DP Mathematics teacher, teaching Mathematical Studies SL and Mathematics SL. From here on living the life of an international school teacher came naturally and I very much enjoy what I do.

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.

In SY2006-2008 I worked in Cebu International School. After teaching three years in the NYC public school system this place felt like paradise to me. The students were attentive, kind, and genuinely fun to work with. Being in a small school such as CIS helped me make friends and rediscover what teaching was really all about. Being part of a small but genuinely kind and helpful community was an amazing way to start working in Asia, so far from my roots.

In SY2008-2013 I worked at Xiamen International School. After my first year at XIS I gained the respect of both the Upper School principal, Dr. David Freeman, and the Headmaster, John Godwin, who entrusted me with the position of the Head of the Mathematics Department. I held this position for two years before I was given the opportunity to be the Diploma Programme Coordinator for SY2011-2013. During these five years at XIS I also became MYP Mathematics Moderator and DP Mathematics Examiner, as well as Site-Based Coordinator for Pamoja Education. As the school is about a 40-minute bus ride from the island, where most faculty and families live, I started to regularly cycle to school to the point when it became routine to pedal to and from work every day.

Now, in SY2013-14, I am at Western International School of Shanghai (WISS) as a secondary Mathematics teacher and I immensely enjoy the start of this new chapter in my life in this fantastic school with such an amazing staff. Although the school is only a 5-minute bus ride from my home now, keeping my passion for cycling will be much easier as there are plenty expat cyclists who organize regular rides around Shanghai.

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

Having “cultural encounters” in China is really a daily experience. Moving around the city and observing the local customs and habits really became natural by now, after having spent five years in China. One of the many habits of the Chinese that still put a smile on my face is to see them walk backwards as a form of exercise in the pajamas. This morning as I ventured out for my morning jog, I discovered a running track nearby my home. (We just moved to Shanghai a few days ago and I’m still discovering my area.) On the track, at 6am, I found at least 15 people of all ages walking backwards in their pajamas to perform their (I guess regular) morning exercise. Yes, I smiled.

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

Having a non-teaching spouse and two school-aged boys my very first criterion is whether the school accepts two children as dependents. Once that’s given I check the school’s location, the programs they offer (which is crucial for me being an experienced MYP/DP teacher), and the salary and benefits. The size of school becomes important only when seriously considering an offer simply because I have experience with both large and smaller size schools.

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

Living life full of energy.

Thanks Denes!

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 China like Denes?  Currently, we have 22 international schools listed in Shanghai on International School Community. Here are a few that have had comments and information submitted on their profiles:

• 

• 

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School Profile Searches

Using the School Profile Search feature on International School Community: Search Result #12

August 22, 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 1474 schools (updated from 1445 on 20 June 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 #12

Criteria selected:

  1. Region of the world (East Asia)
  2. Curriculum (USA)
  3. School Nature (All)
  4. No. of students (All)
  5. Country (All)
  6. Year founded (All)
  7. Kinds of student (Mostly Int’l)
  8. Metro Population (3m-10m)

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Schools Found: 8

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The eight international schools that met the criteria were found in two countries:

China
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South Korea

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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 9000 comments and information (updated from 8470 on 20 June 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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Blogs of International Teachers

Blogs of international school teachers: “Expat Teacher Man” (An international school teacher at Hong Kong International School)

August 2, 2013


Are you inspired to start up a blog about your adventures living abroad?

Our 32nd blog that we would like to highlight is called “Expat Teacher Man”  Check out the blog entries of this veteran international school educator who currently works at (53 Total Comments on our website) in Hong Kong. He also has worked at  in Kobe, Japan and at 

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A few entries that we would like to highlight:

WHAT DID I LEARN DURING MY FIRST YEAR AS AN EXPAT?

Find friends not associated with your school. International school teaching is incredibly demanding. Find friends outside your realm that will not remind you of work.

Accept yourself and your current situation. My dad told me often that I am going to have to learn to appreciate being alone if I am to survive overseas. He was so very right. I remember him specifically telling me to quit feeling sorry for myself and that if you are experiencing culture shock in Singapore….”Try moving to Mississippi!”

You are a professional, act like one. Do not personalize decisions made from your administrators. Move on…”

It is a great idea to make friends that don’t also work at your school.  Making other friends can depend on: whether or not you can speak the local language at a highly proficient level, how many other expats that live in your new host country/city, and your personality.

It is also good to come to terms with your current situation with your new living and working spaces as quickly as possible; there does need to be some time to adjust though.

The drama at international schools can sometimes be very high, but many schools in your home country also have drama as well. Always great advice though; to make sure that you are being the most professional when working at your international school.

RECRUITMENT TIPS FOR ASPIRING INTERNATIONAL EDUCATORS

“I now teach at a prestigious school in Hong Kong. I have taught at Singapore American School and the Canadian Academy in Kobe, Japan. The following is a body of thought on what to expect if you are fortunate to interview for an overseas teaching position. Most of my thinking comes from successfully securing jobs at three separate recruitment fairs.  I am also sharing my learning from the Principals’ Training Center for International Educators. I hope it helps.

International School ServicesSearch Associates and the Council of International Schools are three of the top recruitment agencies that connect teachers with international schools. Each has recruitment fairs all over the world.Each is pretty similar in their approach and I recommend that you choose the one that is right for you. I have had a lot of luck with International School Services.

Currently there are over 6,000 international schools in over 230 countries. I am one of nearly 300,000 staff members that make a living at an international school. If you have three or more years experience as a certified teacher and you have proper references, I imagine you are likely to get a teaching position somewhere overseas.

However, the most sought after positions are highly competitive. My Hong Kong interview process spanned three consecutive days. I spoke with my current supervisor a total of seven times before finally signing my contract…”

It is interesting that this blogger hasn’t mentioned getting hired by Skype as that seems to be getting more and more common these days.  There are good reasons to decide to attend a big recruitment fair, but sometimes that isn’t possible for everyone. At one of the big fairs you can: interview with many different international schools from all over the world, network with many international school teachers and administration, and hopefully sign a contract then and there!

Want to work for an international school in Hong Kong like this blogger?  Currently, we have 26 international schools listed in the Hong Kong on International School Community. Here are a few that have had comments and information submitted on their profiles:

• • • • • • • • 

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

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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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Member Spotlights

International School Community Member Spotlight #24: Cherry Doromal (An int’l school educator working at Mahatma Gandhi International School Manila)

May 18, 2013


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

Screen Shot 2013-05-18 at 5.34.47 PMTell us about your background.  Where are you from?

Mabuhay! Let me take you to Manila, Philippines! I am Dr. Cherry Moriones- Doromal, Bachelor of Mass Communication, Bachelor of Laws, Master in Business Administration, Doctorate of Strategic Studies, Licensed Teacher, Secondary Education—specializing in English and Literature, multi-awarded educational and community leader, composer, blogger, Generalist Educator for MGIS International Primary Curriculum, Quad-Media Director of Mahatma Gandhi International School, and a lifelong learner .

My career, in sum, has been 19 years of exciting journey, allowing me to meet different kinds of people, in different walks of life, in different parts of the world. These experiences have not only molded me to become versatile and sociable, but also prompted me to devote my future in the academe. I believe that being an educator is the perfect avenue where I can best serve my purpose, and is the noblest profession where I can maximize, utilize and impart my God-given talents.

As to the other things about me, such as my quotes, family life, hobbies and writings, they may be found everywhere on the Web.

How did you get started in the international teaching community?

All my life, I worked as quad-media (that is radio, television, print and online) and public relations practitioner locally and internationally, such as in the United States and in my home country, with clientele in Malta, Australia, Canada, United Kingdom, Singapore, France, Hong Kong and many more. Along the way, I have been actively involved in political and non-governmental organizational and ecclesiastical leadership, as well as in community service. My teaching experience of more than 20 years is mostly evangelical church and community-based; and the first international school exposure I had was working with one owned and operated by a British national where I taught Social Sciences and Communication Arts. I have vast teaching experiences from pre-school to post graduate.

I am currently working at the Mahatma Gandhi International School Manila, or MGIS for brevity, and I am truly thankful to our Headmaster Lawrence M. Buck for this opportunity.

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.

Mahatma Gandhi International School Manila , or MGIS, is exceptional in many aspects. My two sons are enrolled here. Here are some of its unique features, and please bear with me as I try my best to shorten my description:

• Individualized teaching – Generally, less than 10 students per class; in rare cases, maximum of 15 pax per class
• Comfortable indoor learning environment: air conditioned, spacious, sanitized classrooms; Smartboard facilities, computer sets, ICT Room, E-Library, Physical Library etc.
• Outdoor learning: students regularly explore different places outside of the school for experiential learning as integrated in their subjects/ units of learning.

At MGIS, potentials are determined, recognized, enhanced and supported. Here’s just one out of the many examples. There’s one 6th Grader, James Ketcher, who loves singing. When the teachers saw this interest in James, they believed and supported the kid’s potentials, such that he was diligently coached and guided by the MGIS Music and Theater Arts specialists making James Ketcher one of the most admired lead role actors in the series of theatrical shows of The King and I at Resorts World Manila.

At MGIS, we let your kids think. We don’t teach religion; we teach VALUES. We respect individual and inter-cultural differences and freedom of expression where the students are heard. Plus, there’s no haircut policy, which is common in our local schools where the boys are required to have their heads shaved or cut at a certain length.

Most of all, at MGIS, the teachers who are all specialists in their respective subject area are passionate about teaching, practicing empathy towards the learners. Our staff are supported towards being life-long learners where they are being sent to local and international conferences and seminars regularly; thus, assuring that MGIS 21st century educators will acquire the competence expected of them.

In this school, international and professional quality performing arts is taught to students at all levels. Each year, before the end of the last term, MGIS comes up with a school-wide play/musical, participated by all students, faculty and staff. Last SY 2011-2012, we had Notre Dame de Paris– French Version; the year before, we had Cats the Musical.

Another feature is that MGIS connects daily with parents and students through our state-of-the-art online facilities; and yes, we use Edmodo.

MGIS listens to suggestions, addresses needs, and cares for your kids the way you would at home. Simply said, MGIS serves the community, celebrates with the world, values nationalism, promotes internationalism, loves the earth, and makes a difference.

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

First off, MGIS is a small school with a total population not exceeding 250, inclusive of the staff.  So you can just imagine that the tendency is for “everybody to know everybody”.  Each day is a fresh cultural encounter for me, with a British headmaster, and colleagues whose nationalities vary. Although the school is situated in the Philippines where I am a local, our school community is home to, as far as I can recall, at least 13 nationalities—Australian, Israeli, Russian, Nigerian, Indian, Korean, American, Filipino, Japanese, British, French, Russian, and Hungarian – who live and learn together idyllically in harmony despite diversity.

What puts a smile on my face? Well, I am a satisfied parent- educator with two kids studying in MGIS! Witnessing how my own children and the rest of our international students get to easily adapt to MGIS upon entry, and how they develop camaraderie among their classmates and schoolmates, is such an affirmation of the kind of convivial environment we have here in MGIS where the school values of C.E.R.T. (Compassion, Empathy, Respect and Tolerance) are truly thriving.

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

All I want is a school that genuinely promotes a positive learning and working environment for all. One that empathizes with and cares for the teachers, administrative staff, and the students, hence, providing their needs to be more effective in teaching and in learning.

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

Successfully making a positive difference!

Thanks Cherry!

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 Manila like Cherry?  Currently, we have 8 international schools listed in the Manila on International School Community. Here are a few that have had comments and information submitted on their profiles:

The British School Manila (7 Comments)
International School Manila (32 Comments)
German European School Manila (12 Comments)
• Brent School Manila (4 Comments)

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New Teacher Orientation Must-Haves

New Teacher Orientation Must-Haves at International Schools: A dinner outing with the director and administration

February 16, 2013


In this blog series we will talk about the ins and outs of an excellent new teacher orientation programme at an international school.  A new teacher orientation programme can really play a very important part to your start at your new school, in your new host country.  What are all the must-haves then?  Check out our blog series here to read about the ones we have discussed so far.

Must-have #7: A dinner outing with the director and administration

IMG_0063-1In some cultures it is very much of a bonding moment between people when they share a meal together.  It is a time when you can really relax and have some nice conversations with each other.  Getting to know your director and other new teachers in this kind of setting will help you with future encounters with the director and also with your potential new good friends. Having a meal with your bosses can really start your relationship with them on the right track.

How nice is it when the administration treats you to a nice dinner out somewhere in your new town?  It really just sets the stage right to have a great start to your first year.  Sure it is not that important and of course it does not have anything to do with your job specifically, but it is nice to get some bonding time with the other new teachers as well as your new bosses. Also, there is the fact that you probably don’t have so much money when you first arrive to be going out to eat at a nice restaurant. Plus, you probably do not even know where the good restaurants are just yet anyway.

If there is not a dinner planned though for all the new teachers, it definitely feels like something is missing.  If there is a dinner planned, then there are a few scenarios that might happen.  Most often the admin plans a dinner out in the center of the city at a nice restaurant.  You can really take in your new “expat lifestyle” in this scenario!  If you have a director that is a little bit more personable, he/she might invite you over to have dinner at their house.  In this scenario, the director is really making an effort to show the new teachers that they are now “one of the family” on the staff at the school.

A less desirable scenario is when the dinner is just held at the school itself. Maybe the admin staff will get the cooking staff to make something special for everyone. Having the “dinner out” at the school is probably not making a very good impression on the new teachers, but depending on cooks, it could actually be quite nice.  Another way to not make the best impression is to have the dinner at some cheap restaurant (just across the street from the compound where all the teachers are living) with little planning involved on making the outing special in any way.

In either scenario, the conversations and experience had at the “dinner out” with the new staff will surely be ones that you remember.  A fun time is usually in store with a lot of laughter.  Take it all in because this dinner-out evening is just the beginning of your new and exciting expat life in your new host city.

Some members on our Facebook page have shared about eating out with their administration during the new teacher orientation week they experienced at their international school:

International School Geneva – Campus des Nations – “At IS Geneva there was barely an orientation week (just 2 half days) let alone any sort of dinner.”

International School Singapore (10 Comments) – “The head of school throws a BBQ dinner for the new teachers and one later for all staff to mingle with the new staff.”

Discovery College (Hong Kong) (5 Comments) – “We had a dinner at a Chinese restaurant. Also a drinks/appetizers with the larger ESF organization.”

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Not that you would ask about this topic at your interview or anything, but it might be important to ask the administrator who’s interviewing you the details of the new teachers orientation week.  You do want to know how they support new teachers to make a smooth transition.

On International School Community we have a number of principals and directors of international schools that are members. Currently, we have 20 Directors/Heads of School that have joined.  Some of the international schools they work at are:

The Bilingual School of Monza
• International Community School Addis Ababa
Olive Green International School
International School of Dusseldorf
ABC International School (Tokyo)
International School Groningen
Garden International School

Log-on today to check out the many comments and information submitted in this section topic!  Become the most informed you can be when it comes to finding out the benefits an international school offers to its new teachers.

So, does your international school include a dinner out with the director and administration as part of their new teacher orientation?  Please share your experiences!

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Highlighted Articles

Teachers International Consultancy: International School Teachers from UK and USA Support Education Reform in Kazakhstan

December 21, 2012


Kazakhstan may not spring to mind as an obvious destination for either vacation or career, but for UK teacher Ian Shotter, it’s proving so successful that he’s hoping to stay for another five years if not more. “I’m really enjoying the opportunities that the position has provided me with,” he says, talking about his job as ICT teacher at the NIS school in Almaty.

Now well into his first year of teaching in Kazakhstan, Ian says the experience is both challenging and rewarding. “We use a curriculum provided by Cambridge,” he says referring to the new Kazakhstan curriculum which has been written in association with Cambridge University and is introducing rigorous skill development and progression to the country. ”The ideas are sound and we hope that the curriculum format will improve the learning of students here,” Ian explains. “The students soak up everything that you are prepared to give them. It is my intention to stay in Kazakhstan for the next five years if there’s a position here for me.”

NIS schools lead educational reform

CIMG0077 There are NIS (Nazarbayev Intellectual School Network) schools in several locations throughout Kazakhstan including the capital Astana and the cities of Semey, Kokshetau, Ust-Kamenogorsk, Taldykorgan and Uralsk, all of which are leading a programme of educational reform in 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, experienced English-speaking teachers to spearhead the progress. Ian is one of these teachers. He trained as a teacher in the UK and had worked for several years in secondary schools and academies in England which helped in his recruitment to NIS. “The way teachers teach here it is quite different to the UK way and you need to adjust to the language barriers but I think that I have adjusted reasonably quickly,” he says.

Ian is teaching ICT in English to local students in collaboration with local teachers. This mentoring process is one of the specific roles for the expatriate teachers and involves supporting the Kazakh teachers with teaching, planning and assessment.  Corey Johnson is doing the same as a Geography teacher.

Gaining from cultural differences

Corey is a Social Studies teacher originally from Missouri, USA. “The curriculum is very different from the one I used in America so I had to learn a lot about it very quickly,” he says. “Doing this was hard work at the beginning, but I have quickly adapted. The teachers I work with are very diverse, and that is different than the schools I worked at in America. Also the students come from a different culture and background and this means I have to be aware of cultural differences, and adapt my teaching to fit my students. Even though all of these teachers and students come from different backgrounds they find a way to work together in harmony, and I think that is pretty amazing,” he adds.

In addition to their teaching, both Corey and Ian are enjoying discovering many new social experiences in Kazakhstan too. “Adjusting to life in a new country is always challenging, but it is also rewarding,” says Corey. “The food here is great. I was surprised at how friendly and kind the people are; it really helps the transition to living here.”

Corey has now been teaching internationally for seven years and says that each time he moves to a new country, he gains more experience. “Saying goodbye is a hard thing to do, but knCIMG0126owing that a grand adventure is waiting for you out there is very enticing,” he says, adding that flexibility, adaptability, strength of character, and an adventurous spirit are all necessary qualities for teaching internationally. He offers advice to others considering it as a career option: “Take everything for what it is, and don’t compare where you are to your home country. Of course it’s not the same; things are different, and some things are hard, but that is the adventure of it all. Enjoy yourself, and you will have a lifetime of memories to look back on after your time is finished.”

Increasing options for international teaching

Since taking on his first international posting in 2005, the opportunities available to Corey in international schools have increased significantly. “The number of international schools around the world is growing at a phenomenal rate,” explains Andrew Wigford, Director of Teachers International Consultancy, an organisation that specialises in the recruitment of teachers for international positions. “Many international schools provide excellent learning provision for both expatriate children and for local children who are seeking an English-speaking education. Most international schools have a very good reputation for learning and for the higher education opportunities that they provide, and this is fueling their growth.  There are some regions of the world, such as Dubai, where the number of international schools is simply not meeting the demand and so right now schools are continually expanding. There are other regions, such as Singapore, where the international schools are helping to support new global business development due to the education infrastructure suitable for expatriate students that is being put in place.  And there are other places such as Kazakhstan where international schools are actually changing the face of education throughout the country. It’s a very exciting time for teachers who have good experience and skills and who want to travel. Not always is it sunshine and sand that motivates a teacher to select a destination. Corey and Ian are both examples of teachers who have selected their teaching job for quite different reasons. Being part of educational reform is a compelling, challenging and rare experience and one that they are bound to gain from both professionally and personally.”

The Nazarbayev Intellectual School Network is continuing to recruit experienced English-speaking teachers to support Kazakhstan’s education reform.

Teachers International Consultancy offers a recruitment, placement and advisory service for qualified teachers from all over the world who are looking for jobs in international schools including those at NIS in Kazakhstan. The service is completely free to teachers. For more information visit www.ticrecruitment.com

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Highlighted Articles

Teachers International Consultancy: Advice from International Teachers on Moving Overseas

July 27, 2012


Over 10,000 teachers will this summer be packing their suitcases, finalising their visas and saying goodbye to their families and friends as they start a new life teaching overseas. They will be joining 293,000 other qualified, English-speaking teachers already working in international schools around the world.

For the new teachers who will be making this move within the next few weeks, now is the time for last minute plans. And who better to ask than those teachers who have already done it

Teachers International Consultancy (TIC), an organisation that specialises in recruiting teachers for international schools, recently surveyed many teachers who had moved overseas this time last year. The big question was, just exactly what matters most when emigrating?

What’s most important in those first few days?

TIC asked international teachers for their advice on the five most important things to take with you when moving abroad.

Everyone agreed that you need to be as fully prepared as possible before you arrive in a new country, so researching such topics as currency and culture are vital. Many teachers suggested having copies of your accommodation arrangements and school details with you when you arrive in your new country and to keep these with you, along with your passport and any visa details plus a pocket guide book, during your first few weeks. Other ‘must haves’ in those early days include international plug socket adapters, a laptop and a flash drive or memory stick with all you have accumulated electronically, some of your favourite teacher resources, your camera, adequate currency of the country, all your banking details including direct contact information, pillow cases, favourite toiletries, basic emergency medical supplies, and photographs of family and friends. One teacher said the one thing that made a huge difference to her were some simple household items: “it’s great when you arrive in an empty house or apartment and can at least make yourself a cup of tea,” says Suzie King who is now teaching at the British School of Egypt in Cairo.

Many people said to think about appropriate clothing for your destination to ensure it suits the climate (not only upon arrival but also year-round) and also to meet the cultural expectations. With international schools located in virtually every country of the world, this can range from fur coats and hats necessary for places like Russia and Kazakhstan, to linen and cotton for Singapore, outfits that keep arms and legs covered for many countries in the Middle East, and Abayas for women in Saudi Arabia.

Making the adjustment

According to the teachers who were researched by TIC, one of the hardest things to adjust to when moving abroad is leaving friends and family. There were plenty of suggestions for coping with this in the very first few days. These included setting yourself up as soon as you can with Skype, email and Facebook in order to communicate easily, cheaply and regularly with friends and family.  Other tips were to talk and socialise with other teachers from your new school. Some schools have a buddy system to help teachers settle into the first term or year, but don’t just rely on that person. Several respondents said talk to as many people as you can, say ‘yes’ to as many social invitations as you can, and don’t just wait for people to come to you. One teacher said “invite people over or take food you cook to school to share as a way of making friends with the staff.” Another said “if it’s safe, walk around, get a map, look for the local stores and explore them, go to the international church, talk to other teachers for tips on where to shop or where to go in general.” Mary-Ann Shelley who is now teaching at the International School of Qatar says “ask questions, be open to new ideas, and listen and absorb rather than comparing things to ‘back home’”. And Jenny Cleaver who moved to El Gouna in Egypt last September says “learning a few words in your new language helps with the locals; they really appreciate it.”

Advice that all teachers who were interviewed agreed upon was to be open to new experiences when arriving in a new country. “You chose to live in a different country where the culture is different and things are done differently,” says Suzie King. “Learn from that. I’ve definitely become more internationally-minded as a result of this. Every culture does things its own way. It has been very interesting for me to get to know so many people from so many different cultures. I think it’s great to see similar things done in a slightly different way.”

For more information on moving overseas, including advice and case studies on other peoples’ experiences, visit the Teachers International Consultancy website at www.findteachingjobsoverseas.co.uk

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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

Highlighted Article – International Teaching: What Is It Really Like?

March 7, 2012


Have you ever wondered what teaching in London or Paris is like? Are you curious about Norway, Turkey, or the Philippines? Would you consider teaching in Kuwait, Indonesia, Zambia, Bangladesh, or Abu Dhabi? Education World interviewed four teachers who did more than just consider.


Istanbul, Turkey

“I knew I wanted to see the world,” Donna Spisso told Education World. “I had a masters and eight years of experience when I left the United States. When I taught in Rockingham County, in Virginia, I took five years to save up for a two-week trip to England. At that rate, I was not going to see much!”

“I’ve been abroad for 20 years now. It began as a one-year break after ten years of teaching in New York City,” Laura Forish told Education World.

“If I had to do this all over again, the only thing I would do differently,” said Bill Jordan, “is to get out of stateside public education sooner than I did.”

“Although our lives have been very ordinary in one sense, they have been filled with adventure and new learning every day,” added Karen Dunmire. “Both our girls (ages 28 and 21) were born overseas. Our best friendships have come from the ranks of teachers who’ve chosen this life, even for a brief time. Our girls speak several languages and easily navigate around the world, as that has been their world.”

Those are just a sampling of comments from four teachers who have taught abroad. They have taught in more than 15 nations and have more than 60 years of combined international teaching experience.

LAURA FORISH

For Laura Forish, that one-year break became a new way of life. Since her first foray into international teaching, she has taught at the American Community School-Cobham (England) and at American Schools in London and Paris. Twenty years later, Forish was still teaching abroad.


Paris, France

Education World: You have taught in what many people would consider “dream” places — Paris and London. Is it hard to get positions there?

Laura Forish: It’s all a question of being in the right place at the right time and being persistent. A solid rsum and a minimum of two years of experience is a requirement. Flexibility is also necessary because international schools do not have the same support services United States’ schools offer. Often one is called upon to wear a variety of hats. Although such places as the Munich International School are Christmas-card beautiful, for someone from New York City being in a city was very important.

EW: Did you know the language or about the culture before you left?

Forish: I spoke minimal French, but it certainly has improved. The language as it is spoken bears some — but not much — resemblance to the language as it is taught in textbooks. Culture shock is real and happens to everyone. It is not a fleeting thing but something that lasts through the years. Culture shock was just as real in the United Kingdom, so it should not be thought of as language-based only.

EW: As a foreigner, were you accepted?

Forish: Tough one. I’m always an expatriate American. Those with whom you bond tend to have similar backgrounds. Although they may be Brits or French, they have lived outside their culture. Except for a short stint in Guatemala, I have always lived in places where physically I “fit in,” and that’s a big difference. I can look the “native” when it’s appropriate and act the “foreigner” when I feel like it. For me, that’s a wonderful combination.

EW: What is life like as a teacher in France?

Forish: The physical environment may change, but teaching is something that changes very little once you’re in the classroom. In my current position, our day lasts from 8:45 till 3:30. After-school sports and activity programs run until 6:15.

EW: Was there anything special about teaching in the places you have taught? Were there negatives?

Forish: The big negative is professional. You’re out of the mainstream. Going to a conference is a big deal. Continuing education can be hard to arrange as well, although with online courses becoming more popular, that is easing some.

Another negative is compensation. I am not paid as well as my cohorts in the United States are. Some of this differential is because of the dollar to French franc exchange rate. Salaries vary greatly from school to school. In general, schools in what are considered “hardship” areas tend to pay better than those in “prime” locations: Paris, Rome, London. In my experience, this is based not on the cost of living in these areas but on the availability of teachers.

However, as I’ve done this for 20 years, I obviously feel that the positive outweighs the negative. I have met some wonderful people — as colleagues, as students, as parents of students, as neighbors.

The school population is really exciting. Many students are true global nomad. They’ve lived all across the world. In my current school, the 850 students from grades pre-K through the 13th year of the International Baccalaureate program represent approximately 45 nationalities. Roughly 50 percent of them hold U.S. passports.

EW: You’re a 30-year teaching veteran. In your opinion, is teaching abroad mainly for the young?

Forish: No way! Living in a different culture expands horizons and empathy levels. It’s not always easy, but it’s rarely boring.

KAREN DUNMIRE

Karen Dunmire and her husband, Denny, have been teaching abroad for more than 30 years. Currently, she is middle school principal at the American School in Warsaw, Poland.

Education World: You have spent more than 30 years abroad. Where have you taught?

Karen Dunmire: After the Peace Corps, Denny and I met and started our married life in a very remote boarding school of 700 in Sesheke, Zambia. Our first girl was born there. She was delivered by kerosene lamp in a government hospital. Very memorable and wonderful.

We returned to the United States to complete graduate degrees at Michigan State and then went to Indonesia. Our second child was born in Singapore. We came home to Lake Placid, New York, for what we thought was to be forever, but we stayed only two years, returning to Indonesia for two years and then [moving] to Abu Dhabi for three. In 1992, we went to Kuwait. In 1994, we moved to Poland, where we’ve been for seven years.

EW: Did this nomadic life affect your children?

Dunmire: Our kids were always ready to explore a new country. They have probably been the ones who’ve kept us moving. It is a wonderful life for families who are open to new experiences. We just kind of fell into this and love it.

DONNA SPISSO

Donna Spisso has taught in Spain, Luxembourg, Switzerland, and the Dutch Caribbean. For the past six years, she has taught in Bangladesh.

EW: In Bangladesh, you were a foreigner in a country with a culture very different from your own. Were you accepted?

Donna Spisso: Bangladeshis like to be associated with foreigners. There is some status attached to it. Teachers are respected. It is harder to become part of the community in Europe if you don’t speak the language. In Bangladesh, everyone’s second language is English.

EW: What are the schools like in Bangladesh? Is it safe there?

Spisso: My school has approximately 600 students in pre-K through 12th grade. My day runs from 7:30 to 3:30, and we’re on a block schedule. We do have air conditioning, but when the power goes off, we lose it.

Safety? Driving a car in Bangladesh requires the utmost attention. At any given time, a motorist must watch out for men walking their cows or goats — they graze on the median sometimes. Women are walking to the garment factories. Rickshaws and taxis clog the roads, waiting for customers. Brightly painted trucks, horns blaring, stop for no one. People cross the street without looking where they are going! There are no sidewalks, no traffic lights, and no stop signs in our area — and if there were, no one would pay any heed!

EW: Why did you choose to teach in Bangladesh.

Spisso: Bangladesh offered a great package. In Europe, you pay taxes. In Bangladesh, we pay none. My school, like many others in the developing world, provides free tickets home annually; pays rent, utilities, and health insurance; and, for a nominal fee, provides a car and pays for its maintenance.

The trade off, of course, is quality of life. No one would agree to work in the developing world if the benefits were not excellent. If you work in Europe for only two years, you don’t worry about the future, and schools capitalize on that. If international teaching becomes your career, that’s a different story. You have to be able to save.

I find the students here very dedicated and their parents solidly behind their education. I have a lot of academic freedom and few discipline problems, and my husband and I are saving for our retirement. Travel is excellent. I have fulfilled my dream of seeing the world.

BILL JORDAN:

Bill Jordan taught in Norway, Turkey, and the Philippines and then created WWTEACH.com, to help other people find overseas teaching jobs.

Education World: Bill, you have taught in three very different places. Few Americans know much about the Philippines. What was teaching there like?

Jordan: It was in the Philippines that I found out why teachers rarely go back to teaching in the United States after teaching abroad. Where else can one be paid to hike a volcano, snorkel beautiful coral reefs, or learn about survival deep in the jungle?

My school had a resource center that rivaled those in universities. The science department had a full-time lab technician who took care of the labs. I’d just tell her what equipment I needed and poof — it was set up in my room. If I wanted to work with a video recorder, the equipment arrived — Hollywood-style, with a camera person to take care of all the recording while I just worried about teaching! I requested a small radio, and I received a brand-new $200 dollar portable stereo system in my room for the year. More than a dozen people staffed the large library. Ready and waiting to help, they were an interesting mix of locals and expatriates from all over the world.

EW: Did you have any teaching experiences that you think you will always remember?

Jordan: We had frequent power outages, making teaching computers challenging. I used pantomime to teach my beginning English as a second language classes. And I butchered the pronunciation of everybody’s names: Si-Nyong Lee, Nobuyoshi, Umer Khaldoon Aftab Ahmed …

Think of New York City and how different it is from rural Montana. The same is true overseas. Every place is very different from the other places, but it is always fun and exciting. In the Philippines, I learned that kids will be kids no matter where you are. Teaching, learning, testing, and sharing is fundamentally the same no matter where you live.

Students came and went constantly, but I never got used to the gifts they gave. Things like that just didn’t happen to me stateside. It was nice being in a place where teachers were valued.

Taken from the Education World website.
 

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Video Highlight

Video Highlight: Living in Shanghai and its International Schools

February 19, 2012


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

We stumbled upon a great resource at Move One.  Their website has a wealth of information about the ins and outs of moving abroad to a variety of cities around the world.  They have many videos explaining what the international school situation is like in cities like Prague, Kiev, Budapest, etc.

Check out their video about Shanghai’s international schools.

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bEGFeb5l–0]

Here is what Moveoneinc.com had to say in general about expats that are moving to China and the current schooling situation:

“In the past few years, a number of local Chinese schools have opened up to expat children and some expats without education allowances are giving it a go. Although these are remarkably cheaper than private schools and give children the opportunity to become immersed in the Chinese language and culture, most expats still opt to send their children to international schools.

China’s larger cities, such as Shanghai, Beijing or Guangzhou, offer a diverse range of international schools based on the International Baccalaureate programs, the American curriculum as well as the English National curriculum. These have a very high reputation and offer first-rate facilities, advanced teaching technology and equipment, internationally experienced teachers, low student/teacher ratios, and a wide variety of extracurricular activities.”

Their website has many more videos about life in Shanghai.  The numerous topics covered are: medical clinics, what to do in case of an emergency, housing, kids activities, Chinese language, expat shopping, and more…

Currently on www.internationalschoolcommunity.com we have 18 international school listed in the city of Shanghai. The number of comments and information that have been submitted for each school is listed to the right the link to each school.

British International School Shanghai – Puxi ( 0 Comments)

British International School Shanghai – Pudong ( 0 Comments)

British International School Shanghai – Nanxiang ( 0 Comments)

Concordia International School (Shanghai) ( 15 Comments)

Dulwich College Shanghai ( 7 Comments)

Fudan International School ( 1 Comments)

Livingston American School Shanghai ( 0 Comments)

Shanghai American School – Puxi ( 0 Comments)

Shanghai American School – Pudong ( 0 Comments)

Shanghai Community Int’l School ( 10 Comments)

Singapore International School (Shanghai) ( 5 Comments)

Shanghai United International School ( 0 Comments)

Shanghai Rego International School ( 72 Comments)

Western International School of Shanghai ( 27 Comments)

YK Pao School, Shanghai ( 0 Comments)

Rainbow Bridge International School ( 11 Comments)

Yew Chung International School (Shanghai) ( 0 Comments)

Lycée Français de Shanghai ( 0 Comments)

If you know about what it is like working at one of these international schools in Shanghai, 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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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

Great resource: Maps of world website and information about international schools

February 1, 2012


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 those two sections.


Singapore

Singapore International Schools

“In order to make education easily available to the foreign student the Singapore Government has made sure that there are quite a number of Singapore International Schools.  There are a number of Singapore International Schools and the foreign students need to appear for and clear a formal examination of the Immigration Department…”

There are 15 different international schools listed in Singapore on this website.

Currently, there are 13 international schools listed in Singapore on International School Community.

Saudi Arabia International Schools

“There are numerous international schools in Saudi Arabia. These schools offer educational programs mainly for the foreign nationals residing in this Middle Eastern nation. Most of the schools are generally non-profit seeking bodies and are governed by private bodies.

International Schools of Saudi Arabia can be classified into three broad divisions on the basis of the curriculum that they follow. The three main heads are U.S. model curriculum, U.K. model curriculum and International model. Though the third one has been inspired by the US model, it also consists of language programs in Urdu, Hindi, Arabic and Filipino.

The international schools at Saudi Arabia offer education from kindergarten to high school i.e., grade 10 level. It offers various subjects including science, arts, music, information technology, design technology, mathematics, etc.

Apart from the academic knowledge, Saudi Arabia international schools also emphasize on extra curricular activities such as sports, arts, clubs, etc. Students are encouraged to participate in various social and cultural events so as to bring an overall change in their persona.

Generally, these International Schools in Saudi Arabia are approved and recognized by some higher educational bodies of the respective country to which they belong. Moreover, they have also obtained the license for operation from the Ministry of education of Saudi Arabia. Though these schools are not allowed to admit Muslims but one can still get admission if the Ministry of Foreign Education at Saudi Arabia permits to do so.”

There are 5 different international schools listed in Saudi Arabia on this website.  Each of the 5 schools also has it own information page which is worthwhile to check out.  The 5 information pages can be found here: Asir Academy, Dhahran Campus School, Yanbu International School, Dhahran British Grammar School, and Jubail Academy International School.

Currently, there are 13 international schools listed in Saudi Arabia on International School Community.

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Highlighted Articles

Highlighted article: Mumbai’s new genre international schools

January 30, 2012


We found an interesting article around the international school community in the city of Mumbai.  It discusses the business side of the international school, the big business sometimes international schools can be to a community.  We have read before that the future of international schools are ones that are actually For-Profit ones.  Why is that a fact for the future of international schools?

Why might there be a resurgence of international schools in a community?  It could be very much related to the new upwardly mobile middle class in a society like as in the case of Mumbai.

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.

Currently there are 9 international schools in Mumbai India on International School Community.  They are: American School of Bombay, RBK International Academy, Dhirubhai Ambani International School, B.D.Somani International School, Oberoi International School , Podar International School, École Mondiale World School, NES International School (Mulund) and Singapore International School (Mumbai).  Overall, we have 39 international schools listed in India.

According to the article, Dhirubhai Ambani International School is the first of this new genre of international school.

Highlights from the article:

Although globally famous as resurgent India’s commercial capital, synonymous with Bollywood, the stock exchange, premier corporates and fashion houses, perhaps because of prohibitive real estate prices, the island city of Mumbai (pop. 13 million) is less than renowned for quality education institutions, particularly its schools. The city’s handful of vintage high profile schools such as Cathedral & John Connon (estb.1860), St. Mary’s (estb.1540), Campion (estb.1943) etc have reigned as Mumbai’s most difficult-to-access secondaries for half a century. Now somewhat belatedly, the city of gold’s school education scenario is about to experience a radical makeover.

During the past four years India’s commercial and entertainment capital has witnessed the promotion of over 35 new genre international schools. Launched with massive budgets ranging from Rs.10-50 crore, Mumbai’s latter-day five-star schools which offer fully-wired campuses bristling with hi-tech equipment and teaching aids, expat headmasters and affiliation with highly reputed offshore examination boards, are beginning to eclipse the city’s vintage secondaries as the first choice of the new upwardly mobile middle class.

The city’s first new genre international school the Dhirubhai Ambani International School, promoted by Nita Ambani (wife of Mukesh Ambani, chairman of Reliance Industries (annual sales revenue: Rs.110,886 crore) admitted its first batch of students in 2003. Since then on average in this city of fast-track private enterprise, ten new genre international schools have been promoted every year, dizzy real estate prices and land scarcity notwithstanding.

Indeed, somewhat belatedly some of Mumbai’s most well-known business families the Goenkas, Podars, Somanis, and Ajmeras as well as other private entrepreneurs have hopped aboard the school education bandwagon. Among them: the Podar World School (estb.2004) and B.D Somani International School (estb.2006). Next year, two high profile international schools the Aditya Birla Group promoted New Era School (Cambridge) in South Bombay and Oberoi International School in Goregaon are scheduled to admit their first batches, and in 2009, industrialist and page 3 celebrity Yash Birla intends to open the doors of the Sunanda Birla International School on South Bombay’s plush Napean Sea Road. According to the state government’s directorate of education in Mumbai, over 90 proposals for inaugurating new schools have been submitted in the past two years (2005-2007) and are pending clearance.

Coterminously with the boom in international schools, India’s commercial capital, which is receptive to new ideas including education philosophies, is also witnessing the promotion of alternative schools which abhor conventional school education practices crowded classrooms, uniforms, competitive exams, and authoritarian, omniscient teachers. Started by four parents disillusioned with conventional schools, the Tridha School (estb. 2001) subscribes to the alternative education philosophy developed by Rudolf Steiner, the late 19th century Austrian philosopher and educator. Steiner schools aka Waldorf schools, focus on educating and developing the whole child, not just her intellect. In consonance with the Waldorf system, Tridha provides its students a stress-free environment striving for a balance between academics, arts and crafts, music, dance and environment awareness. Tridha is one of three Waldorf schools in India (the other two are in Hyderabad) with an enrollment of 233 students who pay annual tuition fees ranging from Rs.29,000-33,000.

While Mumbai’s international schools are perceived as rendering valuable service by offering students much sought after international certifications, all’s not well with them. Most admit to being confronted with severe shortages of high-quality teachers, a pre-requisite of delivering the globally-reputed syllabuses and curriculums of the CIE, UK and IBO, Geneva. Given their academic rigour and broad-based life skills content, these international curriculums mandate stringent in-service teacher training and continuous skills upgradation programmes. Therefore recruiting, motivating and retaining best teachers has become a top priority of Mumbai’s five-star school managements. And it’s hardly a secret that most of them have signed up recruitment firms and headhunters to poach, purloin and entice the best teachers from schools across the country with unprecedented pay packages, including housing and other perks.

“There’s a drought of quality teachers globally and a severe shortage of new blood in the teaching profession. Therefore international schools are experiencing considerable difficulty in recruiting and retaining high quality teachers. Indian teachers trained in India’s new international schools are now being offered jobs abroad and tend to jump ship as soon as opportunity knocks. Therefore the attrition rate in five-star schools is very high. The only option for them is to hire expat teachers, but the government is creating hurdles to importing them. This is to India’s disadvantage,” says Capt. Raj Mohindra.

If you would like to read the whole article, check it out here:

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Great Resource

Great resource: Want to work at an international school in Jakarta?

January 16, 2012


The Living in Indonesia website (www.expat.or.id/orgs/schools.html) has some excellent insight on the many international schools in Jakarta.

There are many international educators interested in working at these schools.  There are 27 international schools listed on the Living in Indonesia website.  Some of the international schools listed on their website are: El SHADDAI INTERNATIONAL SCHOOL, AUSTRALIAN INTERNATIONAL SCHOOL – JAKARTA, ACG INTERNATIONAL SCHOOL, GLOBAL JAYA INTERNATIONAL SCHOOL, HOPE INTERNATIONAL SCHOOL JAKARTA INTERNATIONAL MULTICULTURAL SCHOOL, etc…

Highlighted sections from their website:

JAKARTA INTERNATIONAL MULTICULTURAL SCHOOL

“Curriculum – JIMS is a fully registered Cambridge International Centre with the University of Cambridge International Examinations offering education for children aged 12 to 17 years old and a candidate school for the Primary Years Programme of the International Baccalaureate Organization for children from 3 to 12 years old. The nursery program serves children 1.5 years to 3 years old.

JIMS was founded in 1995 under the name of the Jakarta International Montessori School. In 2007, the school changed its name to Jakarta International Multicultural School. JIMS is located on a 1.5 hectare campus in the green Situ Gintung area. The school area and building are owned by JIMS with modern facilities, including a baseball field, baseball pitching area, large library with extensive book collection, football field, semi indoor basketball court  and two swimming pools. The school truly lives up to its multicultural name. JIMS is fortunate to have a school community which consists of representatives from five continents. The number of students has increased in recent years and we now have 130 students.”

JAKARTA WORLD ACADEMY

“Jakarta World Academy (JWA) is committed to “empower our students to embrace the future and to thrive as ingenious, global citizens”. It offers an English international education across two campuses with Toddler through Elementary at the Thamrin campus (JWA) and Toddler through High School at the BSD campus (SWA).

The Thamrin (JWA) campus provides a unique learning environment in the ANZ Square Building next door to Grand Indonesia in the very center of the city, providing an intimate learning environment that focuses on the holistic development of each child. JWA focuses on Early Years and Elementary programmes implementing the Reggio Emilia curriculum for Toddler – Nursery and the International Baccalaureate Primary Years Programme (IB PYP) for Pre-Kindergarten to Elementary. The IB PYP is a rigorous international education program, which uses children’s natural curiosity and excitement to learn through guided inquiry and develops young learners who are globally minded. The BSD campus, Sinarmas World Academy (SWA), provides the support of a large school (Toddler – Grade 12) community, including resources, learning and counseling support services and professional support that truly makes JWA an outstanding school for your child.

The student body represents 18 nationalities, including 35% international students and 65% students from Indonesia. Each class, Toddler – Kindergarten has a full time western expatriate homeroom teacher, expatriate Chinese teacher and Teacher Assistant. In Grade 1 – 5, each class has a full-time western expatriate homeroom teacher, Chinese Specialist and a half time Teacher Assistant. In addition to homeroom teaching staff, specialist teachers support the programs in Art, Music, Drama, Physical Development, Swimming, Special Needs, and Library.

JWA/SWA is a center for Teacher Professional Development. It an Apple Regional Training Center and provides training for Chinese teachers in cooperation with Peking University, China. JWA/SWA is a member of the Council of International Schools (CIS) and the East Asia Regional Council of Schools (EARCOS).”

ROYAL BUCKINGHAM INTERNATIONAL SCHOOL JAKARTA

“Learning Well, Enjoying Life, Exceeding Expectations … At Royal Buckingham International School, our mission is to develop the skills, positive attitudes and personal qualities of every learner so they can become active contributors to the global community. We Prepare our students for the future, equipping them with the knowledge, skills, and understanding that will enable THEM to meet the demands of living in the 21st century. Students learn in an environment that is not only fun and safe, but also challenging and academically rigorous. The Royal Buckingham Institution community is inclusive and welcoming to new families. Students are placed at the centre of learning and teaching, and teachers tailor the curriculum to each child. Our global outlook on education draws on the unique, international experiences of our school community and incorporates that knowledge into lessons. The School is affiliated with the International Primary Curriculum (IPC).

At Royal Buckingham International School aim to create a range of opportunities for our students to integrate and interact with each other. Through understanding every student’s specific needs and learning styles, we seek to maximize their academic and personal potential, creating a harmonious international community of life-long learners. Our school continues to grow at a rapid pace, providing high-quality international education for the international community. Even with this growth, we continue to offer personalized learning and small class sizes. Students experience a familiarity and comfort that is usually only felt within smaller family groups.”

Currently, there are 10 international schools listed under Jakarta on International School Community:

Acg International School
British International School Jakarta
Jakarta International School
New Zealand International School
North Jakarta International School
Sinarmas World Academy
Global Jaya International School
Bina Bangsa School
Singapore International School (Indonesia)
Royal Tots Academy

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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Blogs of International Teachers

Blogs of international school teachers: You are the author of your own life story – Create your life!

December 21, 2011


Are you inspired to start up a blog about your adventures living abroad?

Our 13th blog that we would like to highlight is called “You are the author of your own life story – Create your life!“  Check out the blog entries of this international school teacher who is currently working at an international school in United Arab Eremites.

Entries we would like to highlight:

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.

Making the decision to go to California for the international teaching fair was, like most events in my life, attempted one step at a time.  I had the invitation.  I had the airline miles.  What I didn’t have was money for the hotel, food and other things needed while there.  Also, my professional clothes were in storage in Oregon.  I bought a couple blazers online and luck was with me as they coordinated with my slacks and blouses and fit well, too.  Investing in makeup and an awesome hair cut/color (thanks Michelle at All Things Beautiful Salon) was the most expensive part but incredibly important.  The last part was the hotel and associated costs, but thankfully, my tax return came through and I had the funds to make the trip.

I stayed at the less expensive hotel next to where the fair was being held.  What I had researched strongly suggested staying in the hotel where all the action was, but I was very glad to not be.  There were times that I needed to get away.  Staying in the same hotel is in the best interest of the folks hiring, but not as much for the applicant.  I was able to sit at the bar, reading and enjoying a dinner without having to wonder who else was around.  I could take off my teacher hat for awhile and just relax.

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.

Many people had printed special coordinating note cards, cv’s and other stationary needs.  That is not my style.  Many of the candidates also requested interviews with many, many  schools.  I only had a few countries that I would go.  Once again, I find myself in the position of being different than the majority.  Immediately, I started networking, introducing myself and asking, “What’s your story?”  I think that was my favorite part.  Talking with many teachers from many states and many with international experience, too.  We all got to be very friendly, supporting each others efforts and contributing to a positive atmosphere.

Interviews were all super short, most commonly about 15 minutes.  Some schools, especially the new ones, were prepared to interview dozens of teachers.  Other schools were obviously looking for only certain qualities and were limited their number of interviews.   All day Friday I participated in the process to secure interviews for the next two days.  Saturday was spent interviewing and chatting.  Saturday night was the “dinner” which was enjoyable, but not really helpful for me.  By this time, there had been some job offers and also many rejections.

A great part of the fair was the presentations from schools. All day, there were several small rooms where schools brought out their power points and marketing pitches.  Some were a hard sell, others not, but I loved them!  It was like the travel channel.  I learned about many countries and really confirmed by decision to focus on the UAE.

By Sunday, I knew that I was going to be one of the ones who left without a job offer.  I was okay with that and had faith that things would work out well.  Many of the candidates were very stressed by this time.  Sunday afternoon, I was ready to go but my flight wasn’t until the next morning.  Checking my email in the hotel business center I opened an email from the school in Abu Dhabi asking if I was still available.”

You’re What?!

“Telling folks that I have accepted a kindergarten teaching position in Abu Dhabi and will be living in Dubai has been fun.  Their reactions, both in facial expressions as well as in words, has ranged from, “Wow”, “No!””, “That’s great” and “Why?” to my personal favorite, “Are you out of your fricken mind?”

Usually, the first question has been why, a completely reasonable question to which I have several answers.  The quick answer is, because I can.  Another answer has been a short explanation on the three category system that Brett and I used while making the decision.  The categories were  1. quality of life  2. school for Brett  3. ability to save money with a possible one, two or three stars in each.  Staying in my position in Hawaii resulted in a score of 5, other options were discussed, but then the offer for the Abu Dhabi scored a 8.

The reason that I even started thinking about  it was because one evening, before the holidays, I was aimlessly googling phrases like “how to make money as a teacher” and “extra work for teachers”.  (In Hawaii, when the teacher furloughs started and my pay was decreased 9%, I started tutoring after school three days a week to make up the difference in my budget, but every month is still a struggle.)  International Teaching came up in my internet search and I thought it was a great idea.  A few days later, at a holiday potluck for staff at my school, I met a couple who were previous teachers.  They were visiting since they had returned from several years overseas.  Getting some direction as to how to proceed in my research, what recruiters to trust, what to watch out for, and sharing their satisfaction with their choice to teach overseas gave me good background information to proceed.

I applied to many, many schools online.  From Thailand to Taiwan, Singapore to Malaysia, Indonesia to Hong Kong – but the country that was my first choice was, from the very first, UAE.  I applied at a great school in Abu Dhabi, but didn’t hear back before I went to an international teaching fair in San Francisco.  At the fair, I had several interviews but not an offer.  (More about the fair in another post) When I returned, I received an email from the CEO of the Abu Dhabi school asking for more information.  I sent my online portfolio as well as links to my two websites for class use, and was very happy to accept the offer that soon came.

When I told Brett about the offer, the fact that we had only 6 hours to decide since this person was at different international teaching fair in Dubai didn’t faze him at all.  He called, emailed and texted his friends, both in Hawaii and in Oregon, and arrived at his decision in less than two hours.”

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

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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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9 Lessons Learned Regarding Intl School Hiring Fairs

Lesson 4 at International School Hiring Fairs: “Being yourself is better, come what may, than trying to be someone else.”

December 5, 2011


“Think about it. Not only does pretending to be what you’re not cheat your interviewer – it also cheats you. Show your true colors now, so you’ll know whether it’ll be okay to show them over the length of your contract.

I love the fact that, at my second interview with the two interviewers for the school I chose, Singapore American School, I replied to a question by saying something to the effect of, “There’s no denying that people’s first impression of me is often, ‘Damn, Burell, you’re too intense!’ But after a while they see the rest of me, and realize I’m also mellow in my own way.” “Damn” is a soft enough word these days – and I certainly don’t toss out higher-level potty words like rhymes-with-fit or ends-many-limericks-about-Nantucket or leads-to-supposedly-eternal-damnation in professional company – and I wondered about the wisdom of the utterance after it escaped my mouth (and this was in like the middle of the second hour of the interview), but somehow the fact that the offer was still made left me feeling even happier than otherwise about accepting it when it came in hour three.”

Is it really that difficult to just be yourself, and just for a moment, maybe pretend that you are a better version of who you really? The thing about admitting your own true colors is that you might have to admit some of the things, that you yourself, might find questionable, or that society deems one thing or another.  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…in the city you really had been wanting to live in.

hiring fairs

The famous psychiatrist Carl Jung operates with something called archetypes. Two of those archetypes are known as the Shadow and the Persona. The Persona is the way we want the world to see us at our very best, the peak of our personality, but always with a mask that protects the ego, and paints an uneven picture of the person we are. The Shadow is the exact opposite. This is, according to Jung, the essence of us. The Shadow contains all our traits, the good and the bad, the flattering and unflattering, but it is our true personality. With age comes sagacity, and we start to know more about who we are, and as years pass we learn to accept ourselves, flaws and all. We learn to deal with our shortcomings, and learn to see beyond what we aren’t and what we are. The human being is of a complex size, we contain so many different traits, and as we get older we learn, and become better to deal with what is giving and what we achieve, what we learn and the wisdom we obtain.

The thing about job interviews is that we only want people to see us at our very best, or to put in a more accurate sense: what we think they want! We somehow create an illusion, that’s inevitably going to burst, it might turn out for the better, but it could as easy turn out for the worse. Honesty is the best policy, especially in the international teaching world. We so desperately want to be everything a job applicant is looking for, when in the end, all that weighs the most, probably is our personality. Our own true personality and how that matches up with the administration and staff at a school.

“Let the world know you as you are, not as you think you should be, because sooner or later, if you are posing, you will forget the pose, and then where are you?” is a quote by comedienne Fanny Brice. When you create illusions or pose in a manner that is untrue to yourself, can you really expect to be liked or hired for the person you are. What sets us apart, and makes us different, is in the end what makes us unique, and when it comes to a job interview, it is the way we should be judged.

So is it really so difficult to just be yourself? If you let go of some kind of perfect perception of yourself, and just act natural, it really isn’t. Of course it takes years to accept yourself and to fully come into your own, but you will find that it somehow feels better in your own skin, when you are simply just yourself.  And maybe, just maybe you will make one of the hardest and scariest decisions you will make in your life (accepting a job at an international school in a location of the world you have never been to; and not knowing anybody there) a bit easier on your mind knowing that you have done your best to show your true self at the interview.

“Nine Lessons Learned” taken from The Wonderful World of International School Hiring Fairs article by Clay Burell’s blog Beyond School.

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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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Blogs of International Teachers

Blogs of international school teachers: Tim Woods (Preparing Tomorrow’s Leaders)

November 20, 2011


Are you inspired to start up a blog about your adventures living abroad?

Our 11th blog that we would like to highlight is called “Tim Woods.”  This international educator has much experience in the international school community, having worked at international schools in Canada, Costa Rica, Bahrain, Eng­land and Bel­gium.  Check out the blog entries of this international school teacher who is now working at Overseas Family School Singapore in Singapore.

Entries we would like to highlight:

Around the World in 80 Seconds

“My wife and I were recently grounded by ash from Iceland’s infa­mous vol­cano. The name of that beast, Eyjaf­jal­la­jokull (sounds like “AY-yah-fyah-lah-YOH-kuul”  if you’re brave) is much fun­nier than the real­ity of it, I assure you. In our case, what should have been a short 2-hour flight from Helsinki to Brus­sels turned out to be 4 days of pac­ing in a cold air­port and then a 47-hour com­bi­na­tion of fer­ries, buses, taxis, trams and trains.

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2N8NaUHR5XI&w=560&h=315]
I men­tion this only so you can under­stand why it is I appre­ci­ate this clip so much: the feel­ing of traveling, with­out hav­ing to actu­ally leave my din­ing room. Perfect.  If you liked this, you might also enjoy Sin­ga­pore and Back in 5 Min­utes.”

This photo journey idea is a another great idea!  We all can relate to the traveling experience of going back and forth, back and forth to our home country.  The feeling going back and then the different feeling of returning to your host country.  Sometimes the journey goes smoothly, sometimes not!  A journey of 4 days sounds like a nightmare indeed!

Guarantee the career you want

“Your job is not per­fect. Me nei­ther. We have hid­den gifts you and I.  First instinct, espe­cially in the heady days of early Jan­u­ary, is to re-evaluate and con­sider mas­sive life changes.  Have we in fact missed our call­ing? In a word: yes. But it’s an eas­ier fix than you might think.

Have you ever heard the expres­sion: “When you’re doing what you really love, it doesn’t feel like a job?” Do you know why this is true? It’s because when you’re doing what you really love you prob­a­bly aren’t at work. Day jobs are some­times less-than-totally ful­fill­ing. They don’t nor­mally appre­ci­ate or hon­our our full great­ness. They nor­mally can’t. (Because that’s not their job). They are not designed with us in mind, but rather with our clients in mind. But their imper­fec­tion doesn’t mean they are wrong for us. We accept their imper­fec­tions as they accept ours. And that’s not bad.

Non-jobs are an anti­dote to less-than-completely-fulfilling careers. They offer a ful­fill­ing ‘third place’. A place, that is not our job and not our home-life, where we grow in the ways we crave.”

Yes, international school teachers are very keen to find the perfect job at the perfect international school at the perfect school so that they can feel a sense of meeting their goals with their career.  If any of those things are not perfect, then you are more prone to thinking you have a job instead of a career at that school.  Then it is true coming hiring season it just might be time to re-evaluate.

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

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ISCommunity Newsletters

International School Community News v2011.07 – 12 November, 2011

November 12, 2011


Site Stats:
Current members: 172 ( 21)
School profiles
: 955 ( 58)
Blog entries
: 127 ( 22)
Posted comments & info
:
1427 ( 348)
Facebook likes: 105 ( 14)
Twitter followers: 195 ( 26)


Bookmark a school profile function on our website:

When you are a member at International School Community you can bookmark the school profile pages that you are most interested in on your member profile page.

Just go to the school profile of the international school that you are most interested in and click on the “Bookmark this school” link at the top.  Once you have successfully bookmarked a school profile page, then that school will show us ap as a link on your member profile page.  The next time you want to access that specific school profile page (e.g. to check out any new comments that have been written, to write some more of your own comments and information, etc.), just click on the bookmark link!


New members:

·Antonina Kleshnina
(Sunland International School)
·Walter Munz
(Harbin No. 9 High School International Division)
·Neil Howie
(British International School – Serbia)
·Jane Evans
(The International Academy)
·William Watkins
(The Blake School)
·Enrique Damasio
(Colegio International de Carabobo)


Current Survey Topic:

Vote here!


Member spotlight:

Check out our last 6 member spotlights 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 LinkGreat resource: Want to work at an international school in Germany?The How To Germany websitehas some excellent insight on the many international schools in Germany.  There are many international educators interested in working at these schools.  Currently, there are 21 international schools listed under Germany on International School Community.  There are 20 international schools listed on the How To Germany website. Highlights from their website:”There are compelling reasons why you might choose to send your children to one of Germany’s many fine international schools. Many English-speaking expatriates are educating their children at Germany’s international schools, and an education at such a school has numerous advantages. There is, of course, instruction in the native language. And, since the student body is usually quite international, they expose the young people to a variety of cultures. They also do a better job than most German schools of introducing the students to computers, and the program of sports and extracurricular activities is more like what they are accustomed to at home…”
Highlighted blog of an international teacher:

Culture Shock and the Expat Educator

“If you’re a new expat teacher (or an expat teacher in a new setting), you may be wondering what the #@!*% you were thinking when you decided to move. It’s normal. Perfectly normal. You probably moved in late July and are heading into the dreaded period of anxiety associated with culture shock. Even in countries lovingly termed “expat lite” (i.e. Hong Kong, Singapore) the most mundane things can be frustrating.”International Students Go to Camp: The Importance of Play
“When I taught in the US, students went to Outdoor School. The Oregonian children learned to read the age of a tree, the names of major plant species, and experience the Northwest natural habitat. Imagine my surprise when I first learned that my international school students go to Camp to play. So this is a really long recess? I wondered. I’m sacrificing hot showers, quality food, and personal hygiene so that students can PLAY? While I admit to Facebook grumbling about ants in the shower, plastic beds, and food representing only the white and brown food groups, I have come to see the value in free play for tweens in my setting.”*If you are an international school teacher and would like your blog highlighted on International School Community contact us here

v2011.07 – 12 November, 2011:

Using the School Profile Search feature on the main homepage of International School Community, we found the following stats about the 955 international schools currently listed on our website.
(Updated from our May 2011 statistics)

Age of School:
Schools more than 51 years old: 197 ( 37)
Schools from 16-50 years old: 412 ( 81)
Schools from 0-15 years old: 346 ( 121)
(How interesting that there is indeed an influx of new schools starting up all over the world!  The vast majority of the ones on our website are in the East Asia and Middle East areas of the world.)

School Curriculum:
UK curriculum: 281 ( 72)
USA curriculum: 350 ( 66)
IB curriculum: 378 ( 70)
(Each type of curriculum appears to be increasing at relatively the same rate. The USA and IB curricula seem to be equally represented around the world on our website.)

School Nature:
For-profit schools: 336 ( 142)
Non-profit schools: 619 ( 97)
(Non-profit schools are still double the amount of for-profit schools on International School Community.)

School Region:
Schools in East Asia: 129 ( 33)
Schools in South America: 70 ( 10)
Schools in Middle East: 118 ( 46)
Schools in Western Europe: 167 ( 37)
(The clear winner…still Western Europe. Though it looks like the Middle East is increasing at a higher rate with regards to schools represented on our website.)

Feel free to make your own searches 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 77 international schools! Check out which schools here.


Recently updated schools:

· 11 Nov  The Codrington School (Int’l School of Barbados) (6 new comments)
(St. John, Barbados)
“You have to buy your own car. The school will lend you money to do so. It took about 45 minutes from my house…”
· 11 Nov  Hokkaido International School (7 new comments)
(Sapporo, Japan)
“Sapporo is a fantastic setting for outdoor enthusiasts with excellent camping, hiking, biking, fishing and winter sports including skiing and snowboarding…”
· 09 Nov  American International School Bucharest (12 new comment)
(Bucharest, Romania)
“BA +5 = 34K, BA +10 = 38K, MA +5 = 36K, MA +10 = 40K. All in USD. There are no deductions for taxes as long as the teachers does not obtain Romanian citizenship or permanent residence status…”
· 08 Nov  International School of Bologna (3 new comments)
(Bologna, Italy)
“I went through CIS online. I applied directly through the website. Then I interviewed with them over the phone…”

· 06 Nov  International School of Paris (8 new comments)
(Paris, France)
“The teachers are mostly European. It is very hard to get a job at an international school in Paris. They prefer to hire native speakers of English because the French parents prefer it…”

(Click here for the last 40 schools to be updated with new comments)


Recent blog entries:

· Educators Overseas: International schools definitions (the schools, the students and the teachers)
“From Argentina to Zimbabwe international schools come in all shapes and sizes. Some schools are non-profit and are affiliated with an embassy (most often British or American). while others are proprietary. Originally established to educate children of expatriates, or “expats”, (diplomats and international business people who have relocated to that country) international schools have become the elite schools of most major cities around the world…”

· The Wonderful World of Int’l School Hiring Fairs: Lesson #3 – “Interview questions make the interviewer.”
“International schools though only have a limited amount of time during the actual interview session with the different candidates at the recruitment fair.  Because the candidate before inevitably goes longer than he/she should of and because the interviewers themselves sometime need a break between their back to back interviews…”

· Highlighted article – The IPC: a curriculum growing in popularity amongst many international schools (Part 2)
“With schools in over 63 countries learning with the IPC, opportunities abound for children to share their local experiences related to an IPC unit with children in dramatically different environments…”

· Teachers International Consultancy (TIC): Teaching from Australia to Abu Dhabi
“Prior to his current post, Charles was teaching at the International School Aamby in India and, since leaving Australia as a qualified teacher in 2001, has also taught at an international school in Turkey. ‘This whole international teaching experience has definitely been a positive move for me,’ he says…”

· Comments and information about hiring policies on International School Community #1 (Singapore, Kuwait & Beijing)
“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…”


Recently added schools:


Requested schools to be reviewed:


This last month we have had visits from 66 countries around the world!

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Highlighted Articles

Highlighted article – The IPC: a curriculum growing in popularity amongst many international schools (Part 2)

November 4, 2011


Intercultural Awareness
Each IPC unit has embedded within it, learning-focused activities that help young children start developing a global awareness and gain an increasing sense of the ‘other’. Every unit creates opportunities to look at learning of the theme through a local perspective, a national perspective and an international perspective.

With schools in over 63 countries learning with the IPC, opportunities abound for children to share their local experiences related to an IPC unit with children in dramatically different environments. Take the children at the International School of Iceland last year, who shared their first-hand experiences of the erupting Eyjafjallajökull volcano with their IPC friends around the world learning with the IPC Active Planet unit. These children have listened to, communicated with and learned from each other in a real world context.



Developing Personal Dispositions

The personal dispositions we form as individuals do not come from reading about them in a book or discovering them spontaneously. But rather, they are established over time with constant use and that’s how the IPC views children’s learning of personal skills. So instead of ‘add-on’ lessons about such elusive personal skills as morality or respect, the opportunities to experience and practise very specific personal dispositions are built into the learning tasks within each thematic unit. In addition, many of these tasks are group activities which encourage children to consider each others’ ideas and opinions, share responsibilities, respect other people’s views and communicate effectively. For example, in the IPC Water unit, a group of children have to make a water turbine. They start by creating if from cardboard and, through their own research and development  – along with gentle guidance from the teacher – work out how to improve their design to make it more resilient and effective. Not only are they learning about the power of water, but at the same time these children are developing the skills of cooperation, enquiry, communication and adaptability.

Supporting Teachers
Each IPC unit has a very structured yet flexible teaching framework providing teachers with a series of learning tasks. These are designed to achieve the learning goals through creative, meaningful and memorable learning activities that appeal to all learning styles and are relevant for all children of all abilities. In addition, these learning tasks have been carefully designed to help children build upon their development of individual skills from previous IPC units.

However, the learning tasks are purely a guide and provide plenty of scope for creative teaching, personalisation to the class and the locality, and development on the theme.

For UK and British international schools, the IPC learning goals are cross-referenced to meet the National Curriculum guidelines of England, assuring teachers that their children are learning in a rigorous as well as engaging, creative and relevant way. Cross-reference documents are also available for other national schools including Welsh, Scottish, Dutch and Vietnamese schools.

Supporting Schools
The IPC was originally designed purely as a curriculum. But ten years of growth and development have resulted in a vibrant, global IPC community of schools in over 67 countries as diverse as Swaziland, Malaysia, Qatar, Japan, Russia and Brazil. In the UK the IPC community embraces over 1,000 schools including state primaries plus academies, independent schools, special schools as well as several highly active Local Authorities. This provides a sharing of best-practice and minds encouraged through blogs, podcasting, conferences, summer schools and more, ensuring that no school, however remote, feels isolated.

Measuring Success
So what about the feedback from teachers, parents, inspectors and authorities? Headteacher Alex Butler of Hampstead Norreys Church of England Primary School in Berkshire, UK which was awarded Outstanding School of the Year in the 2009 League Tables of English Primary Schools sums up the feelings of many: “The IPC provides you with a very clear teaching framework to follow which we personalise to meet the needs of our children in our locality. Some people have said it’s an off-the-shelf option but that’s not true; there’s huge depth to the learning process, a real understanding of what ignites children’s interest, true expertise of community and international-mindedness, a very careful balance of knowledge and skills in every unit, and some really creative ideas for teaching and for learning with a flexibility to make it your own. Because of doing something quite innovative such as the IPC, everyone is watching you! Our success in the League Tables and the Ofsted inspection have proved to our Local Authority and to other schools that the IPC really is making a difference for us. It’s particularly down to the engagement and to the focus on learning.”

In a quite different setting, Louise Grant, Principal of Elementary, SJI International School in Singapore says, “There is real depth to the IPC. The learning goals and the learning process are the real strengths of IPC. It does a great job of making the learning goals explicit so we all know where we’re heading for. And it takes us through a learning process that immediately engages children and helps them to see a purpose to what they’re learning,” and in Norway, at the British School of Stavanger, Principal, Anne Howells says, “What a difference the IPC has made to the whole school! It not only meets the thematic, creative approach and develops thinking skills but it also focuses on discrete subjects, approaching them in a cross-curricular way which helps to create links between the subjects and, as a result, gives children purpose and meaning to their learning. We’ve seen such a change in the children. Now they are engaged in their learning, they’re switched on to learning, they are going home talking about their learning and this feeling is universal across the school; teachers included.”

For more information about the IPC contact the IPC at +44-207-7531-9696 or visit www.internationalprimarycurriculum.com

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Blogs of International Teachers

Blogs of international school teachers: “Expat Educator”

October 29, 2011


Are you inspired to start up a blog about your adventures living abroad?

Our 10th blog (http://expateducator.com/) that we would like to highlight is called “Expat Educator: Every child. Every lesson. Everyday.“  This international educator seems to be quite experienced, having been in education for the past 16 years.  Check out the blog entries of this international school teacher who is now working in Hong Kong at Hong Kong International School.

Entries we would like to highlight:

International Students Go to Camp: The Importance of Play

“When I taught in the US, students went to Outdoor School. The Oregonian children learned to read the age of a tree, the names of major plant species, and experience the Northwest natural habitat.

Imagine my surprise when I first learned that my international school students go to Camp to play. So this is a really long recess? I wondered. I’m sacrificing hot showers, quality food, and personal hygiene so that students can PLAY?

While I admit to Facebook grumbling about ants in the shower, plastic beds, and food representing only the white and brown food groups, I have come to see the value in free play for tweens in my setting.

Here is what I notice:

1. My students get a break from over-scheduled lives.
Many parents in my community buy into the philosophy of Amy Chua, believing that the best way to love children is to push them to achieve. Highly achieve. Lest one think this phenomenon is reserved for parents of Asian heritage, many of my students’ parents are former Ivy-leaguers and/or CEOs of international companies and expect nothing less from their children. The pressure to succeed is enormous.

By adding play time to our annual calendar in the form of camp, sports days, and field days, students develop the skills they will need to run the major companies of the future. They learn emotional control and practice social skills that can make them better leaders.

2. Students practice independence.
While students often have enormous amounts of academic pressure, many students do not learn to do chores such as changing beds, sweeping floors, or scraping dishes. Like students in many international school communities, my students’ families employ domestic helpers. At camp, students make their own beds and clean their own cabins. They are required to scrape plates and pile their dishes.

3. Students don’t miss their electronic devices.
We spend a great deal of time and effort enforcing “screen-free zones” at school. No student has ever verbally expressed missing an xbox. Instead, they play Uno, Spoons, and Blockus.

4. Students return from camp different than when they left.
As I type this, I’m thinking about two of my new students who, until this week, were quite shy. One student was spotted taking leadership in her group’s cabin clean-up efforts. Another one has been given a nickname – and he smiles whenever he hears it. Camp allowed him the opportunity to show off his amazing tennis skills, earning the respect of the other class athletes.”

Culture Shock and the Expat Educator

“If you’re a new expat teacher (or an expat teacher in a new setting), you may be wondering what the #@!*% you were thinking when you decided to move.

It’s normal. Perfectly normal. You probably moved in late July and are heading into the dreaded period of anxiety associated with culture shock. Even in countries lovingly termed “expat lite” (i.e. Hong Kong, Singapore) the most mundane things can be frustrating.

An example…
I’ll never forget the first time I wanted to send a check in $US to someone in America. I left school early to make the hour-long trek so that I could get to one of the branches. I arrived to find the branch closed with a sign indicating they closed at 4:30. Seriously? 4:30? I took the hour-long bus ride home.

The next day I left school even earlier, racing out the door after the students left. I arrived at the branch.
“I’d like to get a check in US dollars,” I said.
“You’d like to check your account?” the woman asked.
“No, I’d like a CHECK,” I tried to enunciate clearly as I made the universal hand motion for a signature.
Poor gal was still confused. She went to get her colleague.
I waited. And waited. Branch doors started closing. Security guards were glancing back and forth between their watches and me.
The colleague arrived. “Check?” she asked. “I can get you a checkbook.”
“A checkbook in US dollars?” I asked.
“No, [local country] dollars.”

I burst into tears. The ladies at the bank branch looked at one another, wondering what to do with the foreigner dripping liquid from unsanitary facial orifices.

Flustered, the ladies started handing me forms. One of the forms had to hold the necessary clues to the mysterious transaction request. The forms helped me deduce that chequebook is spelled with a que. I quietly cursed Webster. Finally, I phoned a colleague. Turns out I wanted a demand draft.

Normally, I’m pretty level-headed. I don’t generally curse dead dictionary authors. But, for a task that would take me 10 minutes in my home country, I had invested almost three hours of travel time over two days and I couldn’t figure out how I was going to pay my US credit card bill on time. My head spun into pictures of credit card penalties and bad credit rating reports. I was convinced my credit card would be shut down and I wouldn’t be able to buy a DVD player to replace the one I first bought that wouldn’t play DVDs from the US (Region 1? Why in the world would countries make DVDs that couldn’t be played elsewhere?). If I could just get the BBC version of Pride and Prejudice to play, I could ruminate on the problems of Elizabeth and Mr. Darcy and cry over something that wasn’t my current situation.

When I finally pieced together that string of thoughts, I wondered if I needed counseling. How would I pay for counseling without a credit card??? The blubbering started again.

Fortunately, I had read up on culture shock and, a glass of wine later, I realized the irrational behaviors could all be traced back to the predictable stage (okay, maybe it was a few glasses bottle of wine).”

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

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Blogs of International Teachers

Blogs of international school teachers: “Tip of the Iceberg”

October 18, 2011


Are you inspired to start up a blog about your adventures living abroad?

Our 9th blog that we would like to highlight is called “Tip of the Iceberg.”  This international educator seems to be quite experienced in the international school community, having worked at international schools since 2001.  Check out the blog entries of this international school teacher who is now working in Singapore at United World College South East Asia.

Entries we would like to highlight:

My Journey to Work

“I was kindly tagged by Kim Cofino in this blog meme of sorts, (via Jess McCulloch) which involves documenting how you get to work. It’s an interesting one, because I love seeing the diverse lifestyles of my friends around the world – check out the journeys of Kim, Jess & Clint, by way of example.  The journey starts at the elevator, where my son Griffin (more often than not wearing only PJ top & underpants) waves us all goodbye. Scarlett, Miles & I love this part, because he makes us smile as we leave.”

This photo journey idea is a great one!  It has the staff at International School Community very interested in trying it out ourselves.  How great if we all shared our journeys with each other.  For sure that would help prospective teachers get a better idea of what life is like traveling to and from the teachers’ homes to the international school they work at.

Lessons from outside the ballet class

“One (Singaporean) parent said she had found the perfect school for her daughter. I was intrigued! Her criteria? The teachers had been teaching at the same school for over 20 years.  I know fabulous teachers (as I’m sure you do) who have been teaching for more than 20 years, and I do not mean to take anything away from them. I also know fabulous teachers who are only just beginning their careers, and I feel the Mum who judged a good school by the fact that the teachers had been there a long time was missing the boat.  Longevity does not necessarily equal a good teacher.  Longevity at an international school doesn’t equal a good teacher either! The cynic in me might think (upon hearing a teacher has been at the same school for 20 years), what’s the package like at THAT school?”

Great topic to think about.  Indeed, what was the package like at the international school where teachers stayed for 20+ years?  All the international school teachers that have been at the same international school for more than 20 years have of course married a local….maybe staying for such a long time doesn’t appear to be the result of wanting to reap the wonderful benefits of a benefits package.

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

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ISCommunity Milestones

International School Community Milestone: We now have over 900 international school profiles listed!

October 16, 2011


At International School Community, we now have over 903 international school profiles listed!

Get answers to your questions about the international schools you are interested in by clicking on the geographic region of your choice.  It’s a great way to learn about different international schools around the world and gather information!

The last 5 schools to be added:

ABC International School (Vietnam) (Ho Chi Mihn City, Vietnam)


Castelli International School
(Rome, Italy)


Ambrit-Rome International School
(Rome, Italy)


International School of Central Switzerland
(Cham, Switzerland)


Overseas Family School Singapore
(Singapore, Singapore)

 

Currently, International School Community has the following 903 international schools listed on our website (last updated on 16 October, 2011):

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ISCommunity Newsletters

International School Community News v2011.06 – 9 October, 2011

October 9, 2011


Site Stats:
Current members: 151
School profiles: 897
Blog entries: 105
Posted comments & info: 1079
Facebook likes: 91
Twitter followers: 169

v2011.06 – 9 October, 2011:
Are you ready for your midterm break yet?  If you live in China (or Asia in general), most likely you have already gone on your midterm trip.  Some have gone to Bali, others to Vietnam.  If you live in Europe, then your midterm break is probably in just 1-2 weeks time, or week 42 as it is known amongst the locals.  Some will go to Malta, others to Greece.  If you live in the United States and work for a public school, then you most likely will not get any week off of work until Christmas.  Another one of the many perks teaching abroad at international schools!

We all need a break at this point in the year.  Ironically though, some trips take time to plan…a lot of time!  Hours and hours of searching on various search websites for flights.  More hours searching and searching for the right hostal or hotel to stay at or what tour to join.  The frustrating part sometimes is that the cheapest flight prices in certain countries are actually found on websites that are only in the host country’s language.  Great if you can read that langauge, but a bit challenging if you don’t.  It is good to have a native speaker help you out with checking out the airfares on those websites, just to double check you are getting the best deal.

The midterm break is a good chance to go visit some of your friends around the world.  Got a friend now in Egypt?  Now is your chance to go visit him/her!  At International School Community, networking and gathering information is very easy.  Get answers about schools that you are interested in by clicking on the school profile page link and sending a message to one of the members of that school on our website.  It’s a great way to get firsthand information!  Also, it is a great way to start making some new friends across the world that you can go visit.  Currently, International School Community members work at or have worked at 72 international schools! Check out which schools here.


Photo by Duncan P Walker


Recently updated schools:

· 09 Oct  Carlucci American International School of Lisbon (5 new comments)
(Lisbon, Portugal)
“The general allowance for all the shipping, baggage, flight, etc…is 2,250 USD, which is also taxed and reimbursed in Euros….”· 08 Oct  German-American International School (2 new comments)
(Menlo Park, United States)
“The settling-in allowance is 1000 U.S. dollars and the airfare allowance is the same amount as well but the flight is only for the start of the contract….”· 08 Oct  International School of Kigali  (7 new comments)
(Kigali, Rwanda)
“There are 21 full-time faculty, 1 classroom assistant and a Director who represent diverse nationalities. Nine nationalities are represented. Teachers are predominately from the US, with the UK, Uganda, Sri Lanka, and Kenya…”· 08 Oct  Nishimachi International School (7 new comments)
(Tokyo, Japan)
“The school has a retirement plan, but it is only available to teachers after 3 years of service…”

· 06 Oct  Universal American School (6 new comments)
(Hawalli, Kuwait)
“The school year comprises two semesters (four nine-week quarters of a 4X4 “accelerated block” schedule) between late August and early-June….”

(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 2)
“If your child is joining an international school where many expatriate children attend, then expect the school to be the social as well as the learning centre for the community…”

· The Wonderful World of Int’l School Hiring Fairs: Lesson #2 – “Energy is eternal delight”
“We have all had interviews in one of those hotel rooms where the interviewers seem disorganized, unaware really of who is sitting in front of them at the moment.  Some interviewers due indeed look rather confused and out-of-sorts…”

· Educating children abroad can be an expensive business, so it’s important to start planning early
“One good benefit that international schools provide for their teachers is free tuition for their children to attend the school.  That is worth around £20,000!  Too bad teachers without children can’t pocket that money if they were offered the same benefit…”

· Comments and information about salaries on International School Community #1 (Hong Kong, Shanghai & Seoul)
“I have 14 years experience and my Masters. I earn about $1,500 per month in Won (about $400 of that is taken out of my paycheck for a retirement plan which is matched by school which I have access to at the end of the school year), and then another $2,000 in US dollars which is sent to my US account every month. I pay no taxes….”

· Great link – U.S. Dept. of State’s information on Teaching Overseas
“There is a list of 197 international schools that the U.S. Department provides assistance to. These school support an American-style education…”


Recently added schools:



Requested schools to be reviewed
:


This last month we have had visits from 60 countries around the world!


1000 comments and information celebration:

International School Community is celebrating over 1000 comments and information which have been posted now on our website!  Currently, we are at 1079. For a limited time, all members can use the coupon code (1000COMMENTS) to get 50% off of their next premium membership subscription.  With the coupon code: 1 month is only 5 USD, 6 months is now only 10 USD and 1 year is only 15 USD!

Take advantage of this special deal now as this coupon code is valid only until 8 November, 2011.  International School Community is the website to go to for international school teachers!


New members:

·Slc Chu (International School Singapore)
·Eli Mouland (Canada)
·Josselyn van der Pol (Berlin Brandenburg International School)
·Ian Lally (John F. Kennedy School Berlin)
·Anastasia AnastasiaV (The International School of Moscow)


Current Survey Topic:

Vote here!


Member spotlight:

Taylor Smith

“I was recommended a job by an old swimming friend who was already working in an international school.  The job was in Shanghai, China so without hestiation, I packed my bags and made the beiggest decision of my life (or so I thought at that point)…

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
An international school’s encounter with internet pirates“Over the past several months, the International School of Stavanger has been challenged with a new and unpleasant phenomenon – being taken ‘virtual hostage’ by internet pirates.In February, 2011 we started getting some emails from candidates applying for non-existent ESL and English teaching jobs. They referred to having seeing ads on various ESL employment websites.When I went onto one of these websites, sure enough there was a posting for an ESL job at our school starting in May 2011. The job would pay benefits including 1800 Euro per month and the advert suggested applicants write to an individual (who really does work here), referring to her as the ‘Recruitment Manager.’

Of course, the job was pure fiction. Probably the silliest part is the idea that we would be paying a Euro-based salary. The Norwegian Kroner is the only currency we use for salary payments. (However, that last piece of information is also what has led the police to believe that this mischief had been accomplished not by a disgruntled individual with a possible connection to the school, but was probably was a ‘phishing’ expedition.)”

Highlighted blog of an international teacher:
The Night Before
“Once I get there I am sure the excitement will set in again. I am sure I will still have periods where I am homesick. I am so glad that the internet, cell phones and skype have all been invented, and I have access to them.”

Getting to know the school

“The schedule here is quite interesting and confusing right now. They have an 8 period day, but periods 1 &2, 3 & 4, and 6 & 7 are block periods. Periods 5 and 8 are single periods. They also do not have the classes the same time everyday.”*If you are an international school teacher and would like your blog highlighted on International School Community contact us here.
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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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ISCommunity Newsletters

International School Community News v2011.04 – 13 August, 2011

August 13, 2011


v2011.04 – 9 August, 2011:
Back to school!  If you are new teacher at an international school this year, right now is the most exciting time.  You are now officially in the honeymoon phase of your culture shock. Enjoy it.  Many times for new teachers there is a nice BBQ at the director’s house, catered lunches during workshop days, a nice tour around the city, etc.  If you are lucky, there is a nice group of new teachers at your school this year.  Why, you ask?  The other new teachers that start at your new school at the same time as you will typically become some of your best friends that you will make there.  It is because you guys will be sharing the same experiences as you explore your new city, new country and new school together at the same time.  So, new teachers enjoy your first few months!  Take everything in stride and appreciate every minute.  Try and say “yes” to all the invitations you will receive from other teachers in their attempt to make new friends with you.


Recent blog entries:

· International schools that were founded in 1978 (Mauritania, Egypt, Kuwait, etc.)
“The Vienna International School was founded in September 1978 to serve the children of the United Nations and diplomatic community in Vienna. It is also open to children of the…”

· Blogs of international school teachers: “Ichi, Ni, San…Go.”
“It has some great insight into how important the first few weeks are for new teachers during their orientation days to their new city and new school.  There is also much information to be …”

· School profile highlights #6: Luanda Int’l School, Amer. School of Tokyo and Int’l School of Iceland
“Candidates should note that most foreign-hire teachers live near the main campus in Chofu, a suburban environment one hour west of downtown Tokyo by train…”

· TEN COMMANDMENTS OF RELOCATING OVERSEAS: #2 – Anticipate a challenging adjustment period of six months
“Some international school teachers tend to experience different levels of culture shock and can pass though the stages quite quickly, but I still think for those people that you need to give yourself six full months to decide…”


Recently updated schools:

· Stafford International School (3 new comments)
(Colombo, Sri Lanka)
“Religious activities are promoted with weekly assemblies by each group and the celebration of festivals in which all participate…”
· Copenhagen International School (10 new comments)
(Copenhagen, Denmark)
“The apartment that I got was complete unfurnished. I had to buy everything for it. Luckily, you can use the relocation allowance to help you buy furniture and what not (which is around USD 2000)…”
· Greengates School (British Int’l School) (5 new comments)
(Mexico City, Mexico)
“The PTA is very strong. International Day Fair is the most interesting event that you will see. High School graduation is very respected with Ambassadors as guest speakers …”
· Robert Muller Life School (3 new comments)
(Panajachel, Guatemala)
“The school has around 11 teachers and they are from Guatemalan and the United States…”
· International School Dhaka (3 new comments)
(Dhaka, Bangladesh)
“This well-resourced school has a purpose-built centrally air- conditioned buildings and classrooms, specialist teaching rooms including…”

(Click here for the last 40 schools to be updated with new comments)


Recently added schools:


Requested schools to be reviewed:


This last month we have had visits from 51 countries around the world!

 

Site Stats:
Current members: 114
School profiles: 840
Surveys: 5
Blog entries: 78
Posted comments: 606


100 members:

Back in July we celebrated our 100th member on International School Community!  We are definitely on our way to our goal of having 200 members by the end of the year.  Please refer your international school teacher friends to join our community.

Officially, we also have 66 likes on Facebook and on Twitter we have 119 followers. How exciting!


New members:

·Carolyn Brown (Seoul International School)
·Duncan Rose
·Deirdre
·Sonia Chan (Cempaka International School)
·Silvia Chavez
·Etsuko Yamamoto (AI International School)

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Highlighted Year for Int’l Schools

International schools that were founded in 1996 (China, South Korea, Moldova, etc.)

July 4, 2011


Random year for international schools around the world: 1996

Utilizing the database of the 827 international schools currently listed on International School Community, we found 24 schools that were founded in 1996 (excepts about their founding are taken from the schools’ websites):

Shanghai Community Int’l School (Shanghai, China)

Shanghai Singapore International (Shanghai, China)

Suzhou Singapore International School (Suzhou, China)

“The SSIS was established in 1996 to provide quality international education to children of expatriate families in Shanghai. Currently, there are 2 campuses in Shanghai, MinHang Campus and XuHui Campus.”

Luanda International school (Angola, Luanda)

Busan Foreign School (Busan, South Korea)

“Busan Foreign School opened its doors to the Busan community and its surrounding areas in October of 1996. With only two students originally, it has since expanded to encompass nursery to twelfth grade, currently educating over 220 students from 25 different nations. In addition to the increase in enrollment, the curriculum has developed into a highly rigorous American standards-based program that offers students a wide variety of courses and activities.”

Tall Oaks International School (Accra, Ghana)

“The nursery was established in August 1996, to provide a safe, healthy and happy learning environment for children aged between 12 months and 5 years.”

Lekki British International School Lagos (Lagos, Nigeria)

“Welcome Lekki British School is the original British School in Nigeria. We opened our doors in 2000 to students and parents who are looking for a truly British School experience.”

Ocean of Light International School (Nukuʻalofa, Tonga)

“In 1996 as a response to a need from the community and as a social and economic development project, the National Spiritual Assembly of the Baha’is of Tonga established the school and registered it as a non-profit institution offering an international standard of education to the population of Tonga. Licensed by the Ministry of Education the school is now a well-known institution in Tonga.  The school opened its doors on March 3rd, 1996 with nine students, one teacher and one assistant teacher, covering classes one, two and three. By the end of the year the roll increased to 20. The following year approval was granted by the Ministry of Education to add classes 4, 5, and 6. More teachers were hired and the roll increased to 56.  By then the Board realized the difficulties of enrolling children to class one from the grass root level with no English background.”

American Academy for Girls Kuwait City (Salwa, Kuwait)

“The Al Jeel Al Jadeed Educational Institute opened The American Academy for Girls (AAG) in September 1996 to only 79 students from kindergarten through to grade five. Today, AAG has approximately 860 students from pre-kindergarten through to grade twelve.”

Qatar Academy (Doha, Qatar)

Jeddah Knowledge International School (Jeddah, Saudi Arabia)

Horsholm International School (Horsholm, Denmark)

The International School of Azerbaijan (Baku, Azerbaijan)

“Since its foundation in 1996 TISA has served both the expatriate community and those in the local community who are seeking an international education.”

Qsi International School of Chisinau (Chisinau, Moldova)

“QSI International School of Chisinau, a non-profit institution that opened in September 1996, offers high quality education in the English language for pre-school (beginning at age three years), elementary students (through the age of 13 years), and an expanding secondary program (currently to age 15).  The primary purpose of the school is to meet the needs of the children of foreign expatriates living in Chisinau who require this type of education with a view to continuing their education in their home countries with a minimum of adjustment problems.”

The International School of Bucharest (Bucharest, Romania)

ISB was founded in 1996 in a rented building with a total of just 17 pupils to meet the needs of the English-speaking community. Within a couple of years the school had grown in both size and scope. In order to serve an increasingly mobile international community, the curriculum gradually took into consideration the practices and requirements of a number of different systems.”

Pechersk School International (Kiev, Ukraine)

Canadian International School Bangalore (Bangalore, India)

Hanoi International School (Hanoi, Vietnam)

“In 1996 a joint venture company was launched following an agreement between the Centre for Education Technology (CET) and International School Development Inc. (ISD). The joint venture ship was on the basis of 30% interest to CET, which is the Vietnam side, and 70% interest to ISD, the US side.  The company then opened Hanoi International School in late 1996 using premises leased from the school next to today’s HIS. The student roll at the end of the first year was 54 from Pre-School to  Grade 11. Within that first cohort of students, 15 nationalities were represented. On the teaching side there were 13 teaching staff, including the Principal, and 16 Vietnamese support staff.”

Sekolah Ciputra (Surabaya, Indonesia)

“Much has been achieved since Yayasan Ciputra Pendidikan founded the school in 1996. Today Sekolah Ciputra is an international school and one of the most highly regarded IB World Schools in Indonesia. We believe that our International IB students are truly global citizens.”

International School of Skopje (Skopje, Macedonia)

St. Andrews I.S Green Valley (Pattaya, Thailand)

Arqam Academy – Doha (Doha, Qatar)

Dasman Model School (Kuwait City, Kuwait)

British International School (BIS) Phuket (Phuket, Thailand)

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Great Link

Types of International Schools – Do you know how many there are?

May 19, 2011


Check out this article about all the different colours and varieties of international schools.

Types of international schools that are listed in the article:

  • original expatriate
  • broadly international
  • local international
  • bilingual
  • state school teaching

Highlights of the article:

– “We often find that teachers considering working abroad get quite confused by the breadth and range of international opportunities out there. It’s hard enough to consider working in another country in another culture, but it’s complicated further by the fact that there are different types of schools serving different populations. When you are at home, you know instinctively which is a posh, academic school versus one that serves, say, children with special educational needs. Internationally its not so easy.”

– “You are unlikely, for instance, to get an invite to attend a local wedding when working at one of these schools.”

– “We find these schools in areas with a high influx of foreigners such as the UAE, Singapore and China and these schools are more of a melting pot.”

– “At most of these schools you will still get a mix of children but more than half will be locals.”

What a great resource for information related to international school teaching – http://www.teachanywhere.com/default.aspx

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Great Link

Do you want to teach in one of the most expensive cities in the world?

June 24, 2011


I was just talking with an international school teacher friend of mine who is part of a teaching couple with 3 children.  They are looking for another job right now; their next international school.  I asked her where in the world that they would most like to move to.  She  told me that it would have to be in a city where the “living is cheap!”

I have actually lived in 2 of the cities currently on the list for 2010 of the most expensive cities in the world.  One of them is in the top half of the list and the other is in the lower half.  I’m not for sure that looking at this list is really helpful when deciding where to live internationally (if you get offered a job at an international school there, mind you).  It seems like the salary and/or benefits are typically raised in accordance to the high cost of living in the city, but not always I suppose.

Housing allowance: the main factor at play?

Some schools on the list (Canadian International School Singapore, Shanghai Community International School, Hong Kong International School, Seoul International School, etc…) offer generous housing allowances; when the school pays for all of your rent (and sometimes even the utilities).  However, I know other schools on the list (American School of Barcelona, Acs International Schools – Egham Campus, etc…) that don’t offer a housing allowance.  Not having to pay for rent (which is sometimes 1/3 of your take home pay) plays an important factor in how expensive the city is for you.  I was told by another friend who has worked at international schools for 4 years now that she plans to never pay for housing again!  I guess once you get that benefit, it is hard to go back to paying for your own rent!  There is always the money-saving option of having a roommate to help with high rent costs, but many teachers, as they get older, don’t want to consider that as an ideal option.

High-priced goods: paying 2-3 times what you would normally pay.

I know some teachers in the “most expensive cities in the world” sometimes think twice about paying 7 USD for a loaf of bread at a bakery geared towards the expat community.  Surely, that is expensive.  They would never do that if they lived in their home country.  I can’t even think of a place that would sell a loaf of bread for that price in the United States.  BUT, they actually have the money now in their budget to buy those types of things.  For sure the stores know the secret; which is that many of the expats living there don’t have to pay for their housing and have extra money to pay high prices for things that remind them of home/western-type stuff.  Especially when a new teacher first moves to a new city (when they don’t know exactly where to buy things yet and where the best prices are at different stores), there are always expats willing and able to pay high prices for western things.

There are always cheaper alternatives.

When you first move to a city, you don’t know where to get the good prices.  Once you find those places and ask your colleagues where to go, then for sure you might think the city is much less expensive than you had originally thought.  Especially if you are in a city that has a culture similar to the type of foods you like to eat.  For example, if you want to buy Cranberry juice in the United States, it is going to be relatively cheap.  However, cranberry juice is not a popular juice to drink in most other countries in the world, thus it is going to be much more expensive (if you are luckily to even find it).  Buying the local version of the products you like will for sure be a cheaper alternative.

Taxis and transportation.

If you live in one of the most expensive cities in the world, you will most likely also be paying a lot of money for taxis and other transportation.  It is especially true for cities on the list like London, Tokyo and Barcelona.  However, it is not necessary true for other cities on the list like Shanghai and Beijing.  Not being able to utilize taxis because of financial constraints can definitely play a factor in your decision to live in one of the most expensive cities in the world.

Final thoughts.

There are so many factors that come into play when you decide whether a city is going to be too expensive for you.  It is difficult to get a good idea of how that will effect your decision to move there before you are actually living there.  I interviewed with a school in Singapore and they were really adamant about getting me to realize beforehand how expensive it was to live there.  It was difficult for me to fully understand their concerns (after looking at their salary and benefits) without actually having experienced the high cost firsthand.  Luckily, International School Community is now here to help international educators.  We have specifically designed our school profile pages to include questions about everything related to money, benefits and the many facets of the cost of living.  With new comments being submitted every week, International School Community is certainly the website to find out important information about many international schools around the world!

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Information for Members

ISC’s Job Vacancy Feature Update: Find the Job of your Dreams!

October 23, 2022


Our Job Vacancies feature (premium membership required) was launched just over two years ago, but its popularity already exceeds all our expectations. With our members submitting these job vacancies, each of their submissions helps another teacher find new and interesting positions at international schools worldwide. Every job vacancy submission helps schools around the globe reach new people who might just be the perfect fit for the position.

We would hereby like to thank the ISC Community for all of their 4900+ submissions (Oct 2022)

Check out this video from our Youtube Channel that highlights our job vacancy page.

Submit the job vacancies you know about today at your international school and earn free premium membership! You get one week of free premium membership for every job vacancy you submit.

Looking at all the submitted job vacancies so far, we would like to share a few statistics that we found.

So far 4916 job vacancies have been submitted in just over three years.

We have designed the job vacancies page to keep all of the submitted job vacancies on one page, even if they have expired.  We wanted our members to see which job positions have shown up for a school over time, and how many times a certain job position has shown up over time as well. For example, maybe if the school has just posted about the job position you are looking for last month, that position probably won’t show up the following month or the following year or two for that matter. Or if the position keeps showing up for a school, one might wonder why they are consistently having that job available each year. The expired job vacancy postings are clearly marked, so it is clear which ones are active or not.

There have been job postings submitted in a number of countries from around the world:

• Singapore
• India
• Indonesia
• China
• Spain
• Japan
• USA
• Hong Kong
• Italy
• UAE
• Turkey
• Uganda
• Thailand
• Malaysia

and many more…

There have also been job postings submitted for a number of school positions:

EAL Teacher: Around 100
Science: Around 380
Maths: Around 400
History: Around 60
Classroom Teacher: Around 140
PE: Around 90
Business Teacher: Around 80
Design Teacher: Around 110
Art Teacher: Around 380
Principal: Around 130

and many more…

We are so glad that we have added this feature to our website. If you have a good story of how our posted job vacancies led to you getting an interview and eventually an offer, let us know by writing to us via our Contact Us page.

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Information for Members

The total comments in all the Benefits Information sections: 12207!

January 14, 2021


As all International School Community members know, each of the 2180+ 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 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 12207 (out of a total of 39249+ comments); that is up 1503 comments from around 13 months ago (Nov. 2019).

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 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? (1415 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? (1414 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) – 481 Comments

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• Average amount of money that is left to be saved. (761 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) – 309 Comments

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• Detailed info about flight, shipping and settling-in allowances. Any other benefits (e.g. free lunches, etc.)? (1236 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. (1085 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) – 113 Comments

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• Ways to make extra money (tutoring, after-school activities, etc.). (523 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) – 82 Comments

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• Information about benefits for teachers with dependents. (825 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) – 162 Comments

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• Professional development allowance details. (617 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. (676 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. (310 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?). (617 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) – 54 Comments

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• How do the school’s benefits compare to other international schools in the area/city? (393 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? (592 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? (330 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. (169 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) – 59 Comments

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• What is the process of getting reimbursed for things? (226 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. (270 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) – 193 Comments

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• In general, why are people staying at or leaving this school? (403 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? (250 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) – 70 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? (95 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) – 91 Comments

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Information for Members

ISC Introduces the Newest Comments Page!

October 27, 2019


On of the most visited pages on ISC is our Recently Updated Schools page. It shows the international schools that were most recently updated with new comments.

Now there is a faster way to find those new comments with the Newest Comments link on each school’s profile page. It is located just under the Overview link in the left column of a school’s profile page.

The Newest Comment page lists the last 20 comments that were submitted on that school.

Each of those 20 comments shows the date it was submitted, the Comment Topic Section and Comment Topic it was submitted in. And, of course, the new comment itself.

Once you are finished checking out the last 20 comments to be submitted on a school, then you can read the rest of the comments by clicking on the Comment Topic sections in the left column (School Information, Benefits Information, City Information, Travel Information).

It is what makes ISC so unique. Our mission was to have our members share information about the international schools they know about. But instead of having that information hiding in long paragraphs, etc. we’ve organized all of the information to be easily found into 66 comment topics. This organization helps our members find the information they are looking for faster!

Also, one of the best ISC features is the ability to see how the submitted comments in one comment topic have changed over time. Here is an example from Western International School of Shanghai’s profile page about housing allowances, etc.:

ISC is always looking to improve the user experience of our members. If you have other ideas for improvement or new feature ideas, please send us a message here.

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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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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…”

blog

#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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Lessons From Your Country

Is Teaching in Norway for Everyone?

January 3, 2019


Norway is often a country that people dream of for a holiday destination, its fjords, mountains and forests are universally admired, rightly so!  When visitors do arrive, they generally find exactly what they expected, natural beauty, friendly people and great food.  Norway never disappoints visitors, at least not when you come prepared and forewarned about the weather!

Strangely enough, Norway is NOT on a list of must go to places for international school teachers seeking to develop their careers.  To be honest, I would never have picked Norway as a place to teach, it never entered my head.  I was used to how things worked in Asia, having worked in both Singapore and China. I had worked in the UAE and to be honest, like most, Norway and other Scandinavian countries did not even register as a possible destination.

I had been thinking about trying to land a position in Europe, to gain exposure to new schools, but also because the lifestyle would be so different from what I had been used to in Asia and the Middle East.  My idea was to go to Italy or perhaps Switzerland, however, while trolling the internet for open positions, I found a couple of vacancies in Norway.  It seemed such an unusual place to work, so I did not hesitate to send in an application.  As a teacher with a trailing spouse and two children, often, schools balk at the idea of even considering me.  The beauty of Europe is, if you are a solid teacher, you will have as much opportunity as the next person. 

After a couple of interviews, I was on my way!  I could not believe it!  I was given information on how to get my working papers sorted, it was a long, but not difficult process if you already have most of all the required documents.  My advice to anyone considering Norway as a place to work, start this process BEFORE applying for jobs.  You will need to have your degree qualified by both NOKUT (the people who check that degrees are valid and real) as well as UDIR (the Education Ministry.)  This process is free, but lengthy.

I used a website (Finn.No) to help find an apartment and waited for my papers to come through, eventually, starting work on a temporary permit (1 year.)  Eventually, of course the agreements from both NOKUT and UDIR were complete and I became a longer term visa holder. 

I have been at my school for the past 3 years.  I think, for me, this is the most amazing country to teach in, if you can handle the cold and dark in winter of course, and the sun and warmth of summer too!  As a family, there is no shortage of amazing experiences to be had here in Oslo: long hikes around a multitude of lakes, forests and rivers, ferries along the Oslo Fjord and of course, winter comes with skiing, skating and other winter activities.  Christmas in Norway is delightful. If you are like me, from the Southern Hemisphere, a white Christmas will be a novelty! 

My school is a privately owned organisation that is supported by the government.  This means we must meet certain Norwegian standards as far as curriculum and number of days taught.  I have only positive things to say about my school.  However, on a broader scope, international schools in Norway are fast developing.  There are 2 English speaking schools in Oslo, plus others in Asker, Trondheim, Bergen, Kongsberg, Tromso, Arendal, Alesund, Stavanger and Moss to name just a few.  Choose carefully, remember, Norway is a huge country and the population is not great. 

I have found I have had great PD and certainly, within the IB world, there is great connectivity between schools in Norway, ensuring that new ideas flow and are shared.  The teaching hours are great and at least at my school, we do not offer out-of-hours programs (this is because there are so many opportunities for children to be involved outside of school) which frees me up to prepare and concentrate on my own programs.  Holiday times are magical, the biggest issue is to decide where to go!  Prague, Rome, London or stay here in Norway and see this amazing country (don’t forget to get up north to take a look at the Northern Lights.)

If I were to pick a negative to living here, it is quite simply the cost.  If you do not have two incomes, it will be very difficult to get by.  A single teacher should manage, but a married teacher, with a non working spouse will find it difficult.

Would I come again?  Absolutely!  Teaching in Norway has been the best decision, as a teacher and as a parent, that I have made.  It’s true, I have not saved much, but, the experience, the lifestyle and the work life has been second to none.  I think it will be difficult to find anything better than this, anywhere.

This article was submitted by ISC member and guest author, Shane Blackbourn. Shane is a PYP5 teacher at Norlights International School in Oslo, Norway.  This is his third year at the school.  He is married, with 2 daughters who also attend the school. 

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Lessons From Your Country

How to Enjoy Life in Japan (Part 2)

April 8, 2017


What does Japan have to offer expats that other Asian countries don’t? It doesn’t offer much bang for your buck. Even a position at a major, affluent international school in Tokyo can’t offer a salary that compares to Singapore. Nor will your salary take you as far as it will in a place like Laos or Thailand.

So why choose Japan?

The depth and breadth of culture in Japan is unparalleled in Asia. China might be older, but thanks to the Cultural Revolution and the current penchant in China for tacky modernity, you’ll have a harder time finding it. But in Japan you can easily find it, at almost any street corner. Japanese are proud of being Japanese, and will bend over backwards to show off their culture to foreigners. There’s a surplus of Japanese TV shows that capitalize on this theme. “Why did you come to Japan?” follows Japan-obsessed foreigners on crazy odysseys throughout the country. It starts by following gaijin as soon as they land at the airport, often with the intention of backpacking to some remote area, studying some obscure Japanese art, or attending something unique. More often than not, the locals take great care of these vagabonds, inviting them into their homes, taking them great distances, and generally honoring these guests. Japan is very hospitable.

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But not always.

You’ll probably have a few experiences like this at first. But once the honeymoon wears off, you’ll notice that in daily interactions, especially big cities, Japanese are actually avoiding you. They don’t want to sit next to you on the train. No small talk at the bus station. They aren’t interested in talking about politics. You’ll hear the dreaded, “Ah, nihongo joozu, desu ne!” This means you speak good Japanese. It sounds like a compliment, but when you’ve heard it for the tenth time in one day, you’ll realize it’s an insult. A micro-aggression. Yes, they are complimenting you the same way you would a trained dog. Congrats, you can badly pronounce several words of our language, now piss off. You’ll discover you have few Japanese friends, and feel isolated from society.

What do you do?  How do you get past this hump and enjoy a long-term stay?

Make Japanese friends. This sounds odd, but many people have difficulty doing this. Many expats don’t have any close Japanese friends, or even a loose circle of Japanese acquaintances. These are the people that have the most difficult time in Japan and leave the soonest.

japan

This is because most Japanese people generally won’t make friends on the street. Japan is a very group-oriented culture, and Japanese grow up learning to make friends within strict confines. From the moment a young Japanese child enters school, they are taught that the group membership is paramount, and individualism is not welcome. They spend all their school life dressing in uniforms and following tight regimes, only to graduate into the even more regimented world of work. Uniforms become unofficial dress codes, and the company they work for takes over their life. You strictly socialize within your company. You even vacation with them. Having worked at a Japanese company, I’ve had the weird experience of going on a company sponsored vacation with my co-workers. After many all-night bouts of drinking, we all literally took a bath together. (Google Japanese public bath etiquette after you read this.)

Herein lies your hope. Once you find a group to belong to, you’ll never lack for want of social contact. You will be invited to do everything with your group. The Japanese, familiar with this way of socially orienting themselves, open up like flowers. Indeed, you may find that some get too personal with you, too quickly.

japan

So how do you maximize your life in Japan? How do you truly experience the beauty of Japanese culture? Join a club, organization, social circle, team sport, or group activity. Find a special interest group. Go to those late night drinking parties. Go flower blossom viewing together. Join the cheesy group vacations. Learn ikebana (flower arranging). Practice chado (tea ceremony.) Choose any Japanese art, join the classes, let the group take you in. Join and become Japanese. You will not be disappointed.

This article was submitted to us by an International School Community member 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

How Much Do Flights Actually Cost from Various Cities Around the World?

December 27, 2016


It’s holiday time and most of us are on some trip enjoying our time off. We might be home with our families in our home countries, or we also might be on some tropical island (if we are so lucky!).

How Much Do Flights Actually Cost

But where you go often depends on how much the flight costs to the place you want to go. If your school is paying via your flight allowance benefit, then perfect! But if you are paying, then you for sure are looking out for the best deal (sometimes for hours on flight search websites!)

It is hard to know what it is like flying out of a city you haven’t lived in yet. How much are the flights to within the host country itself, to nearby countries and to your home country like England or the United States for example?

If the flights are too expensive in relation to your salary, then it might be very likely you won’t be going home a lot for the holidays. If going home every holiday season is important for you, then it is good to know this information up front before you make a decision to move and live somewhere.

How Much Do Flights Actually Cost

An average international school teacher probably goes on at least one flight every one to two months while living abroad. That means many cities in a number of different countries. These costs can add up and take away from your savings, but it is just what international school teachers like to do!

When job searching, make sure to consider the full picture of the host country airport that you might just be using if you sign a contract with a school there.

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Luckily, International School Community has a comment topic on our school profile pages related to getting the inside scoop on how much flights actually cost from various host cities across the world, so you can stay the most informed as possible. It is called: “Sample travel airfares from host city airport to destinations nearby.

Our veteran international school teachers have submitted a total of 141 comments in this comment topic (Dec. 2016).  Here are a few that have been submitted:

“Direct flights to the US can be up to 2000USD (JFK), Europe around 1500USD and Australia similar. Prices shoot up around major holidays. There are a number of low-cost airlines operating, which means you can fly more or less anywhere in East/South East Asia for less that 200USD.” – Hong Kong Academy (Hong Kong, China)54 Comments

“Flights purchased 21 days in advance on discount airlines within Europe can be as little as 20$. But beware, sometimes these flights are cancelled with little or now warning, and you’re left having to purchase a much more expensive one with a different airline at the last-minute. Flights to Asia or the USA will run between 500-1000$, depending on when you travel. Everything is more expensive in July and August, so try to plan travel in off-peak times for the best deals.” – Oeiras International School (Lisbon, Portugal)111 Comments

“Check KLM’s website every now and again. They sometimes give great deals on empty seats from Denpasar to Singapore. I’ve flown it for $59 on occasion. Also- pro tip- If you have money to spare and want a few hours of luxury. When checking in, go to the Business Class counter and ask if there are any empty seats. They used to sell them for $50 extra. Now they’ve fixed the price at about $110.” – Green School Bali (Denpasar, Indonesia)54 Comments

“Doha is a central airport in the world – usually the stopover for flights from Europe to Asia, so there are amazing flight options from here. Cheapest weekend flights are to other middle eastern countries/cities – Dubai/Abu Dhabi/Bahrain/ Oman. You can get good deals on Qatar Airways too. Popular destinations from here (but not in a weekend): Maldives, Sri Lanka, India, Turkey. I think the flight prices aren’t too bad (in relation to salaries here) they might seem expensive when you exchange to another currency.” – Qatar Academy (Sidra) (Doha, Qatar)59 Comments

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Top 10 Lists

12 Submitted Comments That Teaching Couples Should Take Note Of

September 23, 2016


International School Community is full of thousands of useful, informative comments…18083 comments (23 Sept. 2016) to be exact.

teaching couple

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 “Teaching Couples“.

12. Details about the staff housing or the housing allowance. If there is no housing allowance, how much are rent costs and utilities?

“The first month in HK is arranged in a hotel/serviced apartment. The single “rental reimbursement” (housing allowance) is about 1,600USD. Teachers employed overseas with an approved dependent get 1.4 times that. Teaching couples receive twice the single allowance and married teaching couples with one dependent child receive 2.4 times the single rental reimbursement. With two dependent children it is 2.8 times the amount. If you don’t spend the whole allowance you still get the money, but will pay tax on it. Rents are high but vary hugely. Most people more or less manage to live within their allowance, unless they want something a bit more spacious/special. HK apartments are really small, but you’ll probably be less squashed if you live in/around Sai Kung” – Hong Kong Academy (Hong Kong, China) – 37 Comments

11. Average amount of money that is left to be saved.

“It’s fairly easy to save a $1000 a month and still live a pretty decent lifestyle. For teaching couples it’s very easy to live on one teacher’s salary and save the entire other paycheck.” – Rowad Alkhaleej International School (Dammam) (Riyadh, Saudi Arabia)69 Comments

10. 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?
“The school does go to the London fairs, but like the previous common mentioned, they do look for teaching couples before hiring single teachers. There are also new visa restrictions underway limiting the number non-EU students and staff that can work at/attend the school.” – Leysin American School (Leysin, Switzerland) – 63 Comments

9. Average amount of money that is left to be saved.

“Some teachers just save most of their USD part of their salary and spend the local currency money. Some teaching couples do this and they are saving quite a lot every year.” – American International School in Egypt (New Cairo City, Egypt) – 62 Comments

8. Information about benefits for teachers with dependents.

“School is good and generous with this. Nicely, teachers AND staff/support staff, whether local or international, get tuition benefits for children. There are some teachers/teaching couples with more students at the school than parents teaching. The school sometimes requests a trailing spouse to do some “volunteer” work at the school to offset these costs. There are stories of this not always being 100% fair. If you’re in that kind of situation, it’s very much worth getting expectations ironed out early.” – American British Academy (Muscat, Oman) – 34 Comments

7. 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?

“The do hire at the fairs. My friends got hired there at the Search fair, in London, a year ago. There used to be a lot of teaching couples hired, that have children, but that is diminishing more and more because some people don’t necessary want to raise their children here in Tanzania.” – International School of Tanganyika (Dar es salaam, Tanzania) – 143 Comments

6. Details about the staff housing or the housing allowance. If there is no housing allowance, how much are rent costs and utilities?

“Single or non-teaching couple without children SG$3000/month. Teaching couples or teacher with a child dependent $3,500. Teaching couples with children SG$3,500. These are fair allowances given the current rental rates in Singapore. Couples with more than 2 children may decide to top up the allowance to get a larger apartment.” – Nexus International School (Singapore, Singapore) – 22 Comments

teaching couple

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

“Generally only hire teachers with solid IB background, but will make exceptions for exemplary candidates, especially when in Teaching couples or harder to hire positions.” – Yokohama International School (Yokohama, Japan) – 17 Comments

4. 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?

“It is hard to survive here if you are a single teacher with dependents, so the school will only hire Teaching couples that have dependents. You need to have a passport from either U.S. or Canada with a Bachelors Degree.” – American School of Quito (Quito, Ecuador) – 10 Comments

3. Information about benefits for teachers with dependents.

“If you meet admissions requirements, then you get up to two children for free, Teaching couples get up to 3 dependents for free (to attend the school).” – International School of Beijing (Beijing, China) – 25 Comments

2. 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?

“The school encourages Teaching couples with or without children to apply for vacancies. The school does look for candidates that are familiar with the UK teaching practice.” – British International School of Jeddah (Jeddah, Saudi Arabia) – 41 Comments

1. 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?

“Teachers are hired on a two-year contract, with the possibility of one-year extensions thereafter. They look to hire single teachers willing to share housing with one other single teacher, or married Teaching couples. They will considerTeaching couples with dependent children if they are of an age to attend NJIS (or younger).” – North Jakarta International School (Jakarta, Indonesia) – 29 Comments

If you have an interesting and useful comment to add related to teaching couples 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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Highlighted Articles

Why Many Teachers Choose To Raise Their Kids Abroad

August 31, 2016


When I was a kid, three of my closest friends went off the rails.  They ended up in prison.  In each case, they apprenticed with a bit of shoplifting.  Things went downhill from there.  I didn’t grow up in a bad neighborhood.  But it wasn’t all sugar and lollipops.

That’s why my mom didn’t work when I was young.  She stayed home.  She wanted to give my brothers, my two sisters and me stability in a world that wasn’t stable.

family at home

My mom was careful with money.  My dad was a mechanic.  They had four kids.  That’s why I was surprised when my parents asked if I wanted to take trip around the Mediterranean Sea with a bunch of other 7th grade students.  “I’ll take a part-time job to cover the cost,” said my mom.  “But you have to save at least $350.”  It was 1982.  I was a 12-year old with a paper route.  The trip cost $2,800.  That was five times more than what my cash strapped parents had paid for their family car.

Today, I understand why they wanted me to do it.

For 4 months, I took weekly night lessons with a dozen other kids in a retired teacher’s home.  The teacher volunteered. We learned about the countries we would see.  We studied their geographies, cultures, architectures and religions. I became our 12-year old expert on Islam. 

I left for my month-long trip on March 28, 1982.  I still remember the date and most of what I saw. We went to England, Greece, Egypt, Israel and Turkey.  I spent two extra weeks with relatives in England.

It was, by far, the best educational experience that I ever had.

Thousands of parents take it one step further.  They raise their children overseas.  Their kids attend international schools.  These aren’t French schools servicing French children, or Thai schools servicing Thai students.  Instead, they support the families of expatriates working abroad. They’re like the United Nations. 

For many kids and parents, these schools are a dream. Almost every child who graduates from an international school eventually goes to college.  In the 12 years that I taught at one, I wasn’t aware of a single high school drop out.

Although it may have happened, I wasn’t aware of a single teen pregnancy. Racism was almost non-existent.  There was a heightened awareness of different religions, cultures and demographics, both social and financial.

Singapore American School

I taught at Singapore American School.  It’s the largest American school outside of the United States.  There are 4000 kids from Kindergarten to 12th grade. Most are U.S. passport holders.  But the student body represents more than 50 different nationalities.  Most of the teachers have children. 

In 2014, ICEF Monitor stated that there are more than 7000 international schools worldwide.  Devin Pratt and his wife Dianna have worked at six of them.  Devin began his career as a Social Studies teacher in Texas. He’s now the Assistant Head (Superintendent) at Frankfurt International School.   Dianna works at the same school as an educational technology coordinator. Their two children, Dagan and Dominique, have lived in Cote-d’Ivoire, Africa; Saudi Arabia; Taiwan; India and Singapore.

I sat with Devin on his porch in Frankfurt.  Some of the neighbor’s homes peeked through the trees on the sunny hill below.   Birds chirped.  I couldn’t see or hear a single car.  I couldn’t hear another voice.

“For part of my childhood, I grew up in government subsidized apartments in the Dallas, Texas area,” said Devin.  “We eventually moved to Plano when my mom remarried. It’s a high socioeconomic area where many of the kids’ parents expected them to go to college.  Just having that influence helped me.” 

Devin says that there are few negative distractions at international schools. “Almost all of the kids are focused on education and their school based activities.  Most don’t consider not going to college.  They’re positively pulled by their peers and by supportive communities that value global education and diversity.”

At many of the schools, teachers can also save a lot of money.  I’ve written two columns, here and here, describing some of the schools. 

But raising kids overseas isn’t perfect.  Derek Swanson is from Colorado Springs, Colorado.  He teaches at the American Community School of Abu Dhabi, in the United Arab EmiratesPreviously, he and his wife taught in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam. The couple has two sons. The youngest is four years old.  The oldest is seven.  “Maintaining relationships with grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins, and other family members is challenging at times,” he says.  “But technologies [like Skype] help considerably.”

Derek’s children follow a U.S. curriculum.  But they learn much more. “Our two boys have learned a fair amount of Vietnamese, Arabic, and Tagalog,” says Derek.  “They also have a fair understanding of the conflicts in Vietnam and how that affected the people there.”

Kate Smith (I’ve changed her name to protect her identity) is another American overseas.  She teaches 2nd grade at Pechersk International School, in Kiev, Ukraine.  Kate, her husband, and their thirteen year old daughter have also lived in Turkey and Belgium. 

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“My daughter has been exposed to many different cultures, languages and different ways of thinking,” says Kate.  “She has grown up thinking it’s normal to be able to speak 3 languages. She isn’t as materialistic as her cousins who live in the U.S. and she has learned to value experiences and people over things.”

Kate credits a lack of exposure to U.S. based television. “When she was younger, I asked my daughter what she wanted from Santa.  She looked puzzled and didn’t know how to reply because she has what she wants and needs.  She hasn’t been exposed to the advertising on American TV.”  

But living overseas, for Kate, isn’t without its challenges.  “Buying clothes and shoes in foreign countries is always interesting. In our current country, they speak Russian or Ukrainian (and I know neither). I have bought some foods expecting them to be something they are not!”

Gael Thomlinson and her husband, Brad, teach at the British Columbia Canadian International School, in Cairo Egypt.  It follows a Canadian curriculum. As with most international schools, the students come from dozens of different countries. Gael teaches music.  Brad teaches math.  Previously, the couple taught in Abu Dhabi, in the United Arab Emirates.

Their two nine-year olds, Lisa and David (I’ve changed their names to protect their identities) enjoy living overseas.  Gael says, “We’ve made great friends from so many different countries. We travel a lot and have visited places like Sri Lanka and Nepal– places I had never dreamed of going. My kids are comfortable amongst many nationalities and they get over language barriers quickly so they can play with new friends.”

Broad cultural acceptance and confidence are common traits among these global kids. Stacy Bradshaw (I have changed her name) is a high school English teacher.  She’s a single mother of two children, aged nine and six.  For two years, she and her children lived in Taiwan.  They recently moved to Korea.  This fall, her children will attend Osan American Elementary.  It’s a U.S. Department of Defense School.

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Stacy and her children have visited 10 different countries in the Pacific Rim region. “My daughter is now a fluent speaker of traditional Mandarin,” says Stacy.  “She’s also my translator. My children love the adventures that come from exploring new cultures, which have provided a hands-on, visual learning experience that they continue to reminisce.”

Devin and Dianna Pratt’s daughter, Dominique, is now a Master’s student at Clark Univeristy, in Massachusetts. She earned a scholarship through the Global Scholars Program for international students.  She grew up in six different countries.  Dominique graduated from high school in Singapore.

“I’m proud of how I grew up,” she says.  But Dominque admits that living overseas has created a pull to live in other places.  “I don’t feel like I’m a local anywhere.  I like the idea of moving on.  I feel myself getting antsy about moving somewhere else.” 

I asked her about U.S. based teachers.  If they have kids, and a sense of adventure, should they consider moving abroad?

“If I were to have kids,” she says, “I would see it as a positive thing.”

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This article was originally posted on Assetbuilder.com.

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Lessons From Your Country

Five Lessons I Have Learned From Living in Indonesia

April 20, 2016


I have lived in Bekasi, Indonesia for two years now. This is my second international teaching position and hopefully not my last.  Indonesia is a Southeast Asian country made up of thousands of islands, with many different languages. It’s known for its vast and rich natural beaches, volcanoes and jungles with elephants, tigers and Komodo Dragons. The country is so vastly different that it ranges from a vibrant sprawling capital of Jakarta to an ancient World Heritage Site of Borobudur Temple and to places very small and remote that only a few people live there.  There are many things to see, places to visit, and culture to explore. This is just my perspective from living in Bekasi (small town just southeast of Jakarta) and should not reflect an entire nation.

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Street view of traffic from my taxi.

Lesson 1: TRAFFIC

According to the research Java, Indonesia is the most densely populated area in the world. Most of those people live within the capital of Jakarta, and most of these citizens, in this crowded city own a car.  Making Jakarta one of the worst cities in the world for traffic. Now, I researched this before I came, but until you live it you really don’t know what that means. It can take three hours to get to a location that is 30 miles away.  When you do want to go somewhere take a friend to talk with or take a book to read. I have spent relatively more time getting somewhere in a taxi then at my destination.  It’s also ‘hit or miss’, so you never know when there is “macet”.

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A real view from a mall.

Lesson 2: MALLS

Do you love to shop? Well then you will love Jakarta. There is no shortage of malls. I cannot count the number of malls there are between Jakarta and Bekasi. I have been in 13 different malls myself. Want to exercise? Go to the mall. Want to go to the grocery store? Go to the mall. Want to get a massage?  Go to the mall. Want to get a mani/pedi? Go to the mall. Want a nice meal in a nice restaurant? Go to the mall. Want to go see a movie? Go to the mall. You name it and a mall somewhere in Jakarta will have it.

Lesson 3: TRAVEL

If you don’t like malls; you can go sight-seeing. Within Jakarta you can visit historical places and outside of the Java Island there are great places to visit.  Travel costs can vary depending on where you go or where you want to stay. I have paid a lot for my vacations inside Indonesia, but the experience was worth the expense! I have seen: elephants, orangutans, birds of all kinds, tropical fish, and Komodo dragons in their natural habitat. There are gorgeous waterfalls, great beaches, peaceful mountains, and wild jungles. I have tried to explore Bali, Flores, Sumatra, Lombok, the Giles and Kalimantan. If wildlife is not your thing, it is very easy to travel to other countries. I have been able to see Thailand and visit Singapore. My friends have traveled to Australia and Hong Kong with ease.

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View of the beach from Gili Air

Lesson 4: BAHASA

Learn the language! I teach in an English-speaking school so, I never mastered the language. I have found myself in many frustrating and confusing situations because I do not speak the language. There are some places that speak English and you can pay for guides that speak English. However, in the local community of Bekasi there is a very limited number of people who speak English. I was very ill and hospitalized in Bekasi and not being able to communicate with the nursing staff made that experience even more difficult. Avoid the frustrations of getting food orders wrong and learn Bahasa Indonesian.

Lesson 5: DON’T FEED THE STRAYS

I live in a suburban area that is surrounded by rows and rows of houses. There is no shortage of stray cats. I have a soft spot for animals and feed them often. I currently have a momma cat and two kittens. If you cannot guess by now I am an animal lover. So, the coolest thing for me is the stray momma monkey with baby that hangs out on my porch. I do not know where she come from, she just showed up one day. She is not friendly and likes to show her teeth if I get too close.

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Monkey that visits my house

These are just a few things that I have learned while I have lived here. There are lots of other things I have learned like how to eat street food, getting food delivery, finding an Ojek and how to use the toilets, but that would make this article even longer. I have described my lessons in a general way and kept out personal feeling because these experiences are my own. I cannot say how you will feel if you choose to make Jakarta your home. I have had my ups and downs and will walk away with this two-year experience as a permanent part of me. I have a friend that loves Jakarta and wants to live here forever. On the other hand; I had a friend that could not make life work for him here and he left. The locals have strong family values and are generally friendly people, which is a positive to me. There is also the negative side or rather the reality of the situation. Jakarta has a high poverty rate and the pollution is abundant. In the end, I can say that Jakarta has made an impression on me that will last a lifetime.

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This article was submitted by guest author Wendy Christen Davis who currently works at Sekolah Victory Plus school in Jakarta, Indonesia.

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Top 10 Lists

Top 10 reasons for wanting to move back to my home country (USA)

February 24, 2015


Many of us have been out of our home country for many years (check out our Seasoned International School teachers post).  Sure, we love our international school teaching life, and there are many reasons to continue that life. If the school is inspiring, stay. If the benefits are great, why not stay. If the travel opportunities are awesome, definitely stay!

Like all good things though, they are bound to come to an end.

But why would an international school teacher move back to his/her home country? There are different reasons for everyone because everyone is coming from a variety of situations and circumstances. With that in mind…what are the Top 10 reasons for wanting to move back to my home country? (USA) Maybe you can relate to some of these!

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#1 – I want to have the experience of living as an adult in my home county (I was 24 with I left).

Some teachers leave to start their international school teaching career straight out of university, which means you are between 21-24. If you leave your home country that early in your “life after college”, there is not much time to enjoy the pleasures of being an adult doing adult things.  For example, leaving at 21 doesn’t leave too much time for you to save up enough money to buy a house.

#2 – I am tired of being a foreigner and need a break. I may go out again after a year or two.

It can be quite exciting when everything is new and different, but it can also be draining on your day-to-day, week-to-week, month-to-month, year to year life while living abroad. Of course the longer you live somewhere, most things become routine and normal. However, it doesn’t mean that you completely forget your life back home. Sometimes you just want to go back and remind yourself of all the things you missed or forgot about.

3294589793_45af18de38_z#3 – I miss my friends.

You can make some great friends in the international school community, especially the ones that started the same year as you did.  The friends you make while living abroad are truly your family away from home.  The friends from your home country are unique though and super important to you. Not being able to see them can be quite difficult at times. Usually you only get to see your home-country friends once a year if you are lucky. Many times when you set up a time to see them, many other old friends are there too…not leaving you enough quality time to catch up on everything. How nice to have all the time in the world to hang out with your friends if you are back living in your home country again!

#4 – I am tired of people saying hateful things about my home country to my face as soon as they meet me.

You really learn a lot about your home country while living abroad. You get to hear, first hand, the multiple perspectives people have related to where you are from. Not all the things they say to you are positive though, making you feel bad and pensive. If you are from an area that has a negative stereotype attached to it, you end up constantly hearing it, after you meet new people and mention your home country to them.  Over and over again, you need to explain to these people how you are not like that stereotype and teach them about your experience.  It can definitely get a bit irritating.

#5 – I want a garbage disposal again.

It is all the conveniences of your home country that you start missing. The list of things you miss can be a long one!  There aren’t many countries that have garbage disposals as a standard feature in a kitchen.  Because of this, I miss them.

4241390495_635818a2b6_z#6 – I want to be able to walk into one store and buy everything I need.

If you are from the United States, then you know what a Super Target is. Now it has everything that you would need to buy for your weekly shopping.  For those of us that don’t want to spend extra time shopping in multiple stores to get everything we want, the idea of just going to one store to get it all done sounds great. Living in your host country, you don’t know where things are most of the time (the language barrier comes into play here as well). Back home, you are an expert on knowing where to go and what you can get there.

#7 – I want to see my country, travel around and really experience it.

Many of the veteran international school teachers have been traveling around the world like crazy. Traveling is a top priority for many of us. Once and a while you see a movie or a tv program and see some pictures of your home country that are stunningly beautiful. You wonder why you never went to that stunning place when you were living there. Going back home might just give you a better opportunity to explore more of your homeland; a nice way to re-appreciate where you came from.

#8 – I want to do a proper Halloween.

You can try and celebrate your home-country holidays while living in your host country, but some things just won’t be the same  to how you would celebrate them back home. Halloween is one of them.  Some countries try and celebrate a few of your home-country holidays (like Halloween), but some are just not comparable to how your home country would celebrate them. Being surrounded by many houses again, all with their light on to welcome trick-or-treaters, can be just the thing to know you are back home to your roots again.

#9 – I want to experience the weather that I grew up with again.

Not many places in the world have exactly the same weather as the place in which you grew up. Sure you can try and experience what it is like to live in a tropical location (like Singapore), but being hot and sweaty every time you go out of the house can get tiresome.  You can also check out the weather living in a colder climate (like Moscow), but having endless cloudy days of freezing cold weather in the winter is enough for you to wish you didn’t live there.  Going back to the weather you grew up with can be just what the doctor ordered.

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#10 – I want to be able to turn on the tv and be able to understand most channels. 

You can go for years without turning on a tv while living abroad. If you don’t understand the local language very well, you know that you won’t be able to understand or follow many of the tv programs anyway.  It’s true that you can get all the news and information you want from the internet, but it is nice though to have an option where you just turn on the tv and surf the channels (like how you used to do when living back in your home country).

This top 10 list was submitted to us by a guest author and International School Community member who is from the United States.

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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Photo Contests

Top three photos for Host Country Cultural Event: And the winners of this photo contest are…

October 27, 2014


I’m happy to announce the winners of our Third Photo Contest (Host country cultural event).

After a lengthy debate with our panel of international school educators, we have decided on the top three photos.

First Place: Taken at Cochabamba, Bolivia.

“The “Urkupiña Virgin” festival is one of the most important in Bolivia. It takes place every year from the 14th to the 16th of August in the province of Quillacollo at only 13 Km from the city of Cochabamba. Hundreds of schools, social clubs and organizations dance in the streets in colorful traditional costumes and lively dances.”

Urkupina Festival, Bolivia

Congratulations, Mario Arena!

Prize awarded: Premium membership for TWO YEARS on our website!

Second Place: Taken in Singapore.

“This is from the celebration of Thapusam as it’s done here in Singapore. People fast for a month and then the men have hooks etc pierced in their skin in order to carry these large decorative items that they then parade and dance through the streets with on the way to the temple. A fascinating event.”

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Congratulations, Angela Collins!

Prize awarded: Premium membership for ONE YEAR on our website!

Third Place: Taken at Qingdao, China. Creating traditional crafts at the Seoul Airport at the Korean cultural center for foreign visitors.

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Congratulations Michael Kelly (an international teacher working at Qingdao Ameriasia International School, Qingdao, China.!

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.

Stay tuned for our next photo contest which will happen sometime during the next 1-2 months.

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Highlighted Articles

Highlighted Article: Michael Pohl is Thinking Education … Are you?

July 6, 2012


Michael Pohl  is  Thinking Education … Are you?

With more than twenty years classroom teaching experience behind him, Michael now runs training and development sessions for classroom teachers in thinking skills and also in how to best meet the learning needs of gifted students in inclusive classrooms. He has run over 1800 workshops on the teaching of thinking for teachers and Principals in China, Taiwan Saudi Arabia, Spain, Vienna, Malaysia, Hong Kong, Singapore, and across both  New Zealand and Australia.

A former member of the World Council for Gifted and Talented Children, Michael regularly presents at local, national and international conferences on issues concerning giftedness, creativity and thinking.

With a Masters Degree in Gifted Education and formal qualifications in Adult Training, Michael is the Director of Thinking Education, currently working with many schools in diverse contexts on an on-going basis, returning many times to work with teachers as as they create a culture of thinking in their classrooms. He has worked in complex secondary settings in inner metropolitan settings, to remote schools in outback Australia, with clusters of schools in Wellington NZ,  to International schools across Asia and in Europe.

Amongst his recent publications are books on the teaching of complex thinking, models and strategies for teaching and learning, inquiry-based instruction, another on a whole-school approach to the explicit teaching of thinking skills, books for the middle years of schooling and for teachers concerning the education of gifted students and numerous articles for national and international journals concerned with Gifted Education.

All are available from the Thinking Education website.

Michael currently has an on-going relationship with The Alice Smith School in Kuala Lumpur and the International European School in Taiwan and is due to revisit both in 2012.

Should you be interested in having Michael work with your school, or present to a local or regional conference, please feel free to contact him via the website at http://www.thinking.education.com.au or simply email at mpohl@thinkingeducation.com.au

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Great Link

Great link: 2011 Quality of Living worldwide city rankings – Mercer survey

November 30, 2011


Who works at one of the 7 or so international schools in Vienna? If you do, then you are living in one of the cities deemed to have the highest quality of living by Mercer.

It sounds great to be living in the city ranked number one, or even in the top 10.  At a certain time of your life and in your international teaching career maybe one of these top cities just might be the perfect place to settle down.  That is though if a vacancy pops up at an international school there, and by some stroke of luck you get the job.  It is all about luck and timing.  It is even more so about luck and timing when it comes to securing a job at an international school in one of these supposedly top city locations.  The international schools in these cities do appear to also have attractive benefits packages.  When you couple attractive benefits packages and a top city to live in, the schools find that there are a higher number of teachers staying long-term instead of the shorter tenures we usually see at other international schools in “less” desirable locations.  Long-term teachers at a school means a lesser likelihood of vacancies popping up.

So, how do these decide the quality of life in cities across the globe?  They use criteria from the following ten categories:

1) Political and social environment (political stability, crime, law enforcement, etc)
2) Economic environment (currency exchange regulations, banking services, etc)
3) Socio-cultural environment (censorship, limitations on personal freedom, etc)
4) Health and sanitation (medical supplies and services, infectious diseases, sewage, waste disposal, air pollution, etc)
5) Schools and education (standard and availability of international schools, etc)
6) Public services and transportation (electricity, water, public transport, traffic congestion, etc)
7) Recreation (restaurants, theatres, cinemas, sports and leisure, etc)
8) Consumer goods (availability of food/daily consumption items, cars, etc)
9) Housing (housing, household appliances, furniture, maintenance services, etc)
10) Natural environment (climate, record of natural disasters)

Indeed there are many factors to consider when thinking about accepting a job at a great international school, but maybe not in the best location.

From the article, here is what Mr. Parakatil said about the following regions around the globe:

Americas
“The disparity in living standards between North and South America is still considerable. Though a number of South and Central American countries have experienced positive change, political and safety issues predominate in the region. In particular, drug trafficking, drugs cartels and high levels of street crime, combined with natural disasters, continue to impair the region’s quality of living.”

Europe
“European cities in general continue to have high standards of living, because they enjoy advanced and modern city infrastructures combined with high-class medical, recreational and leisure facilities. But economic turmoil, high levels of unemployment and lack of confidence in political institutions make their future positions hard to predict. Countries such Austria, Germany and Switzerland still fare particularly well in both the quality of living and personal safety rankings, yet they are not immune from decreases in living standards if this uncertainty persists.”

Asia-Pacific
“As a region, Asia Pacific is highly diverse. Countries such as Australia, New Zealand and Singapore dominate the top of both our general and personal safety rankings, in part because they have been continuously investing in infrastructure and public services,” said Mr Parakatil. “In general, the region has seen a greater focus on city planning. Nevertheless, many Asian cities rank at the bottom, mainly due to social instability, political turmoil, natural disasters such as typhoons and tsunamis, and lack of suitable infrastructure for expatriates.”

Middle East and Africa
“The recent wave of violent protests across North Africa and the Middle East has temporarily lowered living standards in the region. Many countries such as Libya, Egypt, Tunisia and Yemen have seen their quality of living levels drop considerably. Political and economic reconstruction in these countries, combined with funding to serve basic human needs, will undoubtedly boost the region as a key player in the international arena.”

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