The journey to work is indeed an important one. The journey though is not so clear for international school teachers, when looking for jobs at schools and cities/countries to which they have never been. So let’s share what we know!
One of our members, who works at the Copenhagen International School (Copenhagen, Denmark) described his way to work as follows:
In August, there is plenty of light in the morning; always good for putting a smile on your face and good thoughts in your mind. Also the weather is a bit fresh already in the morning, meaning you need a light jacket on during this time of the year. As I leave my apartment building, I see a sea of bikes and people on bikes zooming by me. Gotta keep a keen eye on the street and the sidewalk to check for other pedestrians and bike riders otherwise you will be run over!
Next I get on my bike, glad that it wasn’t stolen the night before. I choose to leave my bike (locked) on the sidewalk every night, even though it is very common to get your bike stolen in Copenhagen. I have a place to put it inside my building, but it is more convenient to just leave it on the sidewalk. Also, I have never got my bike stolen, but many…many people here do. I got my bike for free actually (It was gifted to me when a colleague left the school to move back to his home country), so I’m not too worried about it getting stolen. It is definitely not the first bike that a stealer would choose to steal as it is pretty old looking.
As much as I would like to ride my bike all the way to school, I choose to just ride my bike to the nearest train station (a 2-minute ride). If I do ride my bike all the way to school, it would take around 25-30 minutes. In a few minutes, I am at the train station. There is usually a space to park and lock my bike nearby. Then I walk up a few steps to get to a long bridge-like walkway. The walkway spans 8 tracks I think. It is a big station. There are two ways I can get to the train station near to my school (Hellerup), the S-train and the regional train. If you miss one train, there is always another one coming soon. The regional train might be a bit faster because it doesn’t make any stops to Hellerup, the S-train stops at two train stations in between my station and Hellerup.
The S-train can have a lot of people, so it can be crowded (not so fun), so when I can get on the regional train, I do that instead. The train ride is maybe 4-6 minutes long and then I’m at Hellerup. Many people get off here as it is another hub for many trains. Typically I run into other staff members on the train or getting off at Hellerup. We say good morning and then walk together to get to the school campus. The walk from Hellerup to the campus is like 1 minute. The current school location is VERY convenient to public transportation; super important when working at an international school.
My total journey to work, if I time everything right, is between 12-15 minutes. Super convenient. I forgot to mention that I could also take a nearby bus to work, but that would not be the best choice. The bus can be very crowded as well and the journey is longer, maybe 20-25 minutes.
When it is a sunny morning (which it usually is during this time of the year), the journey to Copenhagen International School is a really great one. It is so relaxing usually and oh I forgot to mention you can watch the sea go by as you look out the window of the train!
Copenhagen International School is actually building a whole new, purpose-built school. It is going to be located even closer to my apartment! The best part of this new school campus is its location. The new location will be on the water. I can’t wait!!
Currently, we have 14 international schools listed in Denmark on our website. 6 of them have had comments submitted on them by our members. Check out which ones here by using our school search feature and ticking the box ‘schools with comments’. Copenhagen International School is a very popular school profile page on our website. It has 183 total comments on it (one of the most on our website so far). It also has 11 members that either currently work there or have worked there in the past (which is the 2nd highest number of members for a school profile page).
So what is your journey to the international school you work at? Earn 6 free months of premium membership to our website if you participate in this blog series – ‘The Journey to School’. Email us here if you are interested.continue reading
v2012.05 – 5 May, 2012:
“Having left your own safe environment suddenly you no longer have control (which as teachers we typically enjoy in our classroom) over your world. As soon as you step out into the outside world in whatever country, you can be faced with:
It is similar to a new born chick who has just left the nest – since you lack confidence in your new surroundings you start out by going on small excursions, but then as you get more confident you go on further trips away from ‘the nest’.”
It is true I suppose that teachers prefer to have “control” in their classrooms. How ironic then that international school teachers put themselves in a situation where they for sure don’t have control. Living in another country is certainly you letting go of the control and safety of your home country and culture, or at least a familiar place to you. But that is what makes this career choice really exciting; you never know what to expect and what you will experience next. How frustrating though to not be able to read street and road signs, we can all relate to that. Additionally, not being able to understand the local language really makes you use all your other senses more in how to interpret body language and to gather meaning from body positioning, gestures and context. At this point native-English international school teachers are so used to being on a train or plane where everyone around them is speaking a different language than themselves that it is strange now (and quite over-stimulating) to be on a plane in the United States (for example) where they understand all the many conversations going on around their seat. We get very used to “tuning” out what is going on around us while living abroad, mostly because we just don’t understand what is being said.
This past month International School Community we had over 100 new members sign up! If this rate keeps up, we might have over 1000 members by the end of October! More members means more people that you can network with when you are job hunting or that you can ask questions to about a specific international school in which you are interested in working. Now, ISCommunity members currently work at or have worked at over 160 different international schools in over 53 countries!
From the staff at International School Community.
· Traveling Around: Tbilisi, Georgia (The life of an international school teacher is good!)
“Can you relate: Putting an update on Facebook on where I am and everyone not knowing where Tbilisi is…”
· International schools that were founded in 1932 (Hong Kong, Henderson, Masero & Lisbon)
“Founded in 1932 by Madam Tsang Chor-hang, Yew Chung has been providing quality bilingual education to the learners of Hong Kong for almost 80 years…”
· Overview of an int’l school #5 – Rainbow international School in Seoul
“Rainbow school is an international school established by Mr. Eshraf Saglam, a Turkish educationist in Seoul promoting multiculturalism and international diversity. With 260 students from 29 countries and 42 teachers from 6 countries…”
· Schools around the world get chance to sing in global recording
“An exciting global singing project has been announced. The project is called Voices around the World and the aim is for young people all over the world to learn and participate in a global recording…”
· International Teaching Predictions for 2012 #5: SE Asia
“We expect continued growth in Indonesia, Malaysia and even Vietnam as those emerging economies steadily prosper. Salaries may seem very low in these countries but…”
· The Wonderful World of International School Hiring Fairs: Lesson #8 – “Benefits, preps, class sizes, and student mix.”
“If all these benefits and other factors don’t seem to match up for you at this point in your international school career, then the answer you will most likely give…”
Kazakhstan Attracts Teachers Looking for Career Development“Kazakhstan may not be the obvious destination for teachers wanting to work abroad. But the Nazarbayev Intellectual School Networkis offering experienced, English-speaking middle and secondary teachers a one-year contract that is proving very tempting for some.”“There are NIS schools in cities throughout Kazakhstan, all of which are leading a programme of educational reform in the country led by the President of the Republic. The aim is to develop a new way of educating the future elite of Kazakhstan and the NIS Network is enlisting the skills of experienced English-speaking teachers to spearhead the progress….”
Check out this blog entry to read more about what your life might look like as an international school teacher in Kazakhstan.
Highlighted blog of an international teacher:
This international school teacher’sblog is about teaching and living in Dubai, Almaty, etc.One of their blog entries (International Schools: The circuit)is describing how small the international school community is and how many of us “hop” around from school to school:“It is in fact a very small community and the chances are that you will know someone who has been to a specific school, once you have been in one or two schools overseas. Don’t be surprised after some years if you walk into a staffroom in a different school, and country, and you meet someone you worked with in another school…”Another one of their entries (What to expect at a job fair) is about what candidates might experience at the international school recruitment fairs:
“During the afternoon, the school will have interviews in their hotel rooms – it is all a bit surreal, but the recruiters carry out the interviews in their rooms (this is normal procedure!) At the end of this day the schools will then look at the candidates they have interviewed (and if you are one of them) then they will either invite you for a second interview…”