Tell 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.
I 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!
What 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
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
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.
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.
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.
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.continue reading
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.
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)
“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
“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)
“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)
“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.)
If you work at an international school in Singapore, share what you know. Consider becoming a Mayor for unlimited premium membership!continue reading
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.
A few entries that we would like to highlight:
“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.”
“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.
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
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!continue reading
There are a few international schools to work at in Singapore! How do these schools stand out from each other?
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!continue reading
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?
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.
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.ukcontinue reading
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.
· 04 Apr QSI International School of Tbilisi (8 new comments)
“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)
“There is a one hour commute from Oslo with direct train links to the city and to the main airport as well…”
· 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…”
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).
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 Discovery) is 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…”
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.”continue reading
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:
“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.
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!
“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.continue reading
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:
Currently, International School Community has the following 903 international schools listed on our website (last updated on 16 October, 2011):
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.
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.
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.”
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 Emirates. Previously, 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.
“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.
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.”
This article was originally posted on Assetbuilder.com.continue reading