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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Hiring Policies at Int’l Schools

Comments and information about hiring policies on International School Community #4: Shanghai American School – Puxi, Riverstone Int’l School, & TED Istanbul College

April 25, 2012


Comments and information about hiring policies on International School Community:

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

Sometimes it is hard to keep track of which international schools go to which recruitment fairs and which interview style and tactic each international school employs.  At International School Community, we want to make the search for information about hiring policies easier for international school teachers. In the school section of each international school profile page on our website, there is a section specific to the school’s hiring policies.  The topic is: “Describe their hiring policies. Which recruiting fairs do they go to? How do they typically hire (e.g. face-to-face interview, Skype, etc.)? Are there any hiring restrictions mandated by the country?”

Here are 3 out of the numerous comments and information related to the hiring policies of international schools that have been posted on our website:

Riverstone International School (13 Comments)

Comment about their hiring policies: “Riverstone International School typically advertises on websites such as the National Association of Independent Schools (nais.org), Pacific Northwest Association of Schools (pnais.org), International Baccalaureate Organization (ibo.org), and its school wesbite (riverstoneschool.org).”

TED Istanbul College (13 Comments)


Comment about their hiring policies: “60 years old is the age limit. The ministry of labor prohibit foreigners from obtaining work permit after the age of 65. Ministery of Education requires BA Diploma & Transcript & Teaching Certificate in related branch. Except Foreign Languages subjects curriculum is in Turkish for children.”

Shanghai American School – Puxi (12 Comments)

Comment about their hiring policies: “Each teacher is eligible for 1 authorized dependent. 65 is the maximum age for hiring, the age restriction. A requirement for hiring is a teacher degree and certifications with a minimum of 2 years teaching experience.”

Check out the more than 160 comments and information about the hiring policies of numerous international schools at www.internationalschoolcommunity.com.

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Salaries at Int’l Schools

Comments and information about salaries on International School Community #1 (Hong Kong, Shanghai & Seoul)

October 1, 2011


A new blog topic on International School Community: Comments and information about salaries at international schools.

Every week members are leaving information and comments on the salaries that teachers are making at international schools around the world.  Which ones pay more?  Which ones do you have to pay very high taxes?  Which ones offer tax-free salaries?  All important questions to think about when job searching, but where to find the answers to those questions?

Why do schools keep their salary information so secret?  Even at international school job fairs, you don’t really get to see the exact amount of your yearly and monthly salary until you see the contract paperwork.  Even then sometimes you don’t know what will be your exact take-home pay each month.  At International School Community, we want to make the search for salaries easier for international school teachers. In the benefits section of the school profile page, there is a section specifically for salaries.  The topic is: “Average monthly salary after taxes and in what currency (explain taxation situation). How often do you get paid throughout the year?”

Here are 3 out of the many comments and information related to salaries that have been posted on our website:

Seoul International School

“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. The school takes care of it. I am paid 12 times a year although we get the summer pay all at once, in May.”

Western Int’l School of Shanghai

“Net salary for someone with over 10 yrs exp is currently 24000 rmb. Not bad in rmb but doesn’t convert very well! Payment is monthly.”

American International School (Hong Kong)

“Taxes are low in Hong Kong and there is no sales tax. Teachers must pay for housing, though, and that is quite expensive, unless you want to live outside the city and/or in substandard accommodation. I was able to live comfortably and travel when I wanted to, but I was not able to save anything.”

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Discussion Topics

Why is there not enough diversity of educators in international schools today?

July 3, 2020


As an international teacher of color and proud TCK (Third Culture Kid), I often find myself being the only one or part of a minority group of teachers who are not the ‘standard’ international teacher, who fits the profile as ‘native speaker, western, and light-skinned’. The question that often arose in my mind and like-minded people is, “What does native speaker mean?” Does this question often relate to language skill, ethnicity, skin color or background? However, the more I pondered, observed and discovered in my experiences, this means more to the latter; which brings us back to the question of which became the result of skill vs ethnicity. Let’s begin to really unpack and dig deeper into this.

Many researches have shown that diversity in schools are beneficial to our society. With the growing migration and international job opportunities around the world, the demand for international education follows suit which created different schools of thoughts, philosophies, curriculums and practices; all driven to provide a holistic, enriching and global-minded education to children. However, the reality is that educators who are hired to be the ‘instructors’ and ‘role-models’ of these great elements of education are often lacking in diversity. Considering the fact that most international schools have a diverse population of students from all over the world, shouldn’t educators be represented by the same amount of diversity too? Where is the standard of being ‘internationally-minded’ and ‘multicultural’ represented in any given school? How do we rectify this and should we?

From my experiences teaching internationally, I have been blessed and also cursed at the same time. Some experiences really made me feel like I am a contributor and part of something great in education; trying to make a difference in this world by doing small acts and making changes as an educator who believes that education is a right for all children, regardless of wealth, background and geographical location. However, there were some experiences which made me feel small, insignificant, rejected and unwanted because of how I look like, speaking with an accent and my multi-cultural background. It became a chore trying to explain my background, identity and who I am as a person which affected my job as an educator as I felt victimized and paralyzed. I kept questioning myself, “Is this for real? Do all good educators have to be western, white and of certain look or speak a certain accent?” It made me insecure and unsure about my decision to continue pursuing a career as an international educator.

Fortunately, travelling and a passion for education helped me to continue my career as an educator which also sparked a fighting spirit and determination to change the way education should look, sound and feel like. It made me realize that there are many factors contributing to the lack in diversity of educators in international schools. These factors range from cultural expectations, norms, economic prosperity, societal needs, income levels, status and background, and even unfamiliarity with change or others outside the group. All these add to the definition on what makes a good international teacher which often relates back to the specification of ‘native speaker, western and light-skinned’ profile.

A few questions to extend and ask ourselves are, “How can we empower all educators to become the best teachers today?” and “Are we being fair to our children in giving them equal opportunities and knowing their identities through education?” Hence, diversity is KEY to develop global-minded citizens who will lead and run the world as our future. Start embracing, accepting and promoting diversity and equality today if we want a better tomorrow!

Adika Cremet is living in Shanghai, China and teaching at an international school. She has been teaching for the past 16 years in New Zealand, Scandinavia, Europe and Asia and travelled around the world. Adika is a passionate advocate for TCKs (Third Culture Kid), inquiry-based learning, early childhood education, diversity and inclusion in schools. She hopes for a better understanding on being a global citizen and international education for the community of learners around her as she makes these her goals wherever she goes.
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Information for Members

The 40 Most Viewed Schools on International School Community

June 21, 2020


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

It’s like, which school is the most popular amongst our 18K+ 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 British International School Moscow (42 total comments), which currently has around 70337 views. Who wouldn’t want to work in Easter Europe?!

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

Copenhagen International School (375 total comments) Copenhagen, Denmark
(3404 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…”

NIST International School (298 total comments) Bangkok, Thailand
(2979 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
(3656 views)

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

KIS International School (Bangkok) (343 total comments) Bangkok, Thailand
(3030 views)

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

Seoul Foreign School (172 total comments) Seoul, South Korea
(3265 views)

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

Hong Kong International School (148 total comments) Hong Kong, China
(3000 views)

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

Western International School of Shanghai (476 total comments) Shanghai, China
(3487 views)

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

Singapore American School (292 total comments) Singapore, Singapore
(3282 views)

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

Concordia International School (Shanghai) (180 total comments) Shanghai, China
(2763 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) (62 total comments) Cairo, Egypt
(2384 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) (155 total comments) Hong Kong, China
(2074 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.”

Green School Bali (137 total comments) Sibang, Indonesia
(2315 views)

“A lot depends on where you’re living. If you’re in the Ubud area expect at least an hours commute to the airport. From Canggu, less time. Denpasar traffic, in fact traffic everywhere in the touristy parts of Bali is horrendous. Drivers charge varying amounts depending o…”

American School of Dubai (161 total comments) Dubai, UAE
(2216 views)

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

American School of Warsaw (155 total comments) Warsaw, Poland
(2018 views)

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

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

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Information for Members

Top 26 Schools With the Most Comments on ISC

May 24, 2020


Now there are 2150+ international schools that have had comments/reviews submitted on them on our website (up almost 80 schools from one year ago)!

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

Western International School of Shanghai (Shanghai, China)

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!

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

So let’s get to it, which schools are in the top 26? This list comes from May 2020 with a sample comment for each school.

Here we go:

26. Hong Kong International School 
(Hong Kong, China) – 148 Comments
“There is a clear and structured pay scale. You enter it according to experience and qualifications, up to a maximum experience level. Within the school you receive an annual ‘step’ for every year of experience, plus there are usually small inflationary raises to the salary scale. Additionally stipends are paid for team leader responsibility. There are resigning bonuses after four years of employment…”

Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam

25. American International School (Vietnam)
(Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam) – 153 Comments
“Now, it is extensive as it has not been done at all. Atlas Rubicon full steam ahead…”

24. Canadian International School (Hong Kong)
(Hong Kong, China) – 155 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…”

23. American School of Warsaw
(Warsaw, Poland) – 155 Comments
“Since housing isn’t provided by the school, you get a lot of leeway in terms of what kind of accommodations you choose and whether you keep within your housing allowance or “top up” for a bigger/nicer/better place. As such, how well-appointed your apartment or hou…

22. Colegio Gran Bretana
(Bogota, Colombia) – 156 Comments
“Many goods on display, if not found in supermarket, can be ordered online…”

21. Tarsus American College
(Mersin, Turkey) – 157 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…”

20. Tsinghua International School (Beijing)
(Beijing, China) – 158 Comments
“There is a new airport going in south of Beijing to relieve the traffic at the main airport…”

19. American School of Dubai
(Dubai, UAE) – 161 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…”

18. MEF International School Istanbul
(Istanbul, Turkey) – 162 Comments
“Teacher turnover is high. Everything from 1st year teachers, teachers new to being over seas, to very experienced international educators. Living in Istanbul is a big draw…”

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

16. 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…”

Seoul, South Korea

15. Seoul Foreign School
(Seoul, South Korea) – 172 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.”

14. Cairo American College
(Cairo, Egypt) – 174 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…”

13. American School of Barcelona
(Barcelona, Spain) – 175 Comments
“The turn over rate is getting a bit higher because the cost of living in Spain is getting higher and higher and salaries are staying the same. Economically it is difficult in Spain right now. That being said Barcelona is a fantastic city to live in and no one wants to leave…”

12. 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…”

11. 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…”

Lisbon, Portugal

10. Oeiras International School
(Lisbon, Portugal) – 183 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…”

9. 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…”

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

7. Stamford American International School 
(Singapore, Singapore) – 237 Comments
“The school is the north-east 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…”

6. Singapore American School
(Singapore) – 278 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…”

Bangkok, Thailand

5. NIST International School
(Bangkok, Thailand) – 298 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…”

4. KIS International School
(Bangkok, Thailand) – 326 Comments
“Using a mobile is now so cheap that many teachers do not have a landline. The Satellite TV provider is dreadful, neither their offerings nor their boxes have changed in 20 years. If you want to watch sport most teachers just go to the pub…”

3. Copenhagen International School
(Copenhagen, Denmark) – 375 Comments
“You can get travellers 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. Good Shephard International School
(Ooty, India) – 409 Comments
“Presently they are having their Trinity College London Music Examinations. This is an option but they try to maintain high grades although most students only take Initial to Grade 1 due to restrictions of the admin to practice music…”

1. Western International School of Shanghai
(Shanghai, China) – 466 Comments
“Airport is okay. It’s clean and easy to navigate. Immigration can take a long time to get through at peek times during the year but it’s okay. They have water fountains, which as a frequent traveller I really appreciate…”

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

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

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Information for Members

“Schools with Comments” search feature update (36500+ comments on over 1144 schools)

May 15, 2020


Our school profile search feature is one reason that makes International School Community unique. The search feature allows our members to search for the schools that best fit their specific criteria.

This fast and easy-to-use search feature also helps international school teachers find the school profile pages on our website that have some useful comments and information on them.  You can easily see how many comments have been submitted on each school profile page by looking to the right of each schools listed on the schools list page.

The “Schools with Comments” tick box feature is at the bottom of our school profile search box (see above picture).  If you only want to see school profiles that have comments on them in your search results, tick this box!  Then on the search results page, you will only see the schools that have comments. Genius!

Example: First we selected the East Asia in the Region drop down menu.  Then we selected China in the Country drop down menu.  Finally, we selected Shanghai in the City drop down menu.  But instead of getting ALL the school profile pages for schools in Shanghai, we put a tick next to the ‘schools with comments’ part before we pressed the Search button.

Here are the results of this search:

As of 15 May 2020, 26 schools in Shanghai have had comments and information submitted on their school profile pages.

Log-on right now to our website and start your searches using our ‘schools with comments’ feature (which is available to all members).

Currently, we have 1144 schools that have had comments and information submitted on them. That’s over half of the 2150 schools that we have listed on our website!

It is also important to note that there are over 36500 individual comments and information that have been submitted on our website.  All of these comments mean more informed teachers in our international school community!  We encourage all international school community members to share what they know by submitting comments on the international schools they currently work at or have worked at in the past. Why not become a Mayor of a school for unlimited free premium membership? Become a Mayor today!

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Top 10 Lists

10 Consequences of Covid-19 on International Schools around the World

May 8, 2020


The vast number of international schools around the world are still closed and doing some kind of remote learning. It has truly been a challenge for these schools to adapt and adjust to this new way of teaching.

The pressure has been on the school’s administration to organize a clear plan that will follow the local government’s rules and guidelines. These administrators strive to clearly communicate to all stakeholders given the very short amount of reaction time to put the new ways of working in place.

When using ISC’s unique Comment Search feature (Premium Membership is needed), we found a number of comments that had the keyword Covid in them. Here are 10 comments that show some implications of Covid-19 on these international schools:

1. Peking University Experimental School (Jiaxing) (51 total comments)

“School communication has always been a struggle for the school, particularly for the foreign hires who generally hear things last. During the distance learning program due to Covid-19, this had huge repercussions in the trust of the school. Ultimately however the school eventually came to good decisions that people were happy with….”

2. American International School Dhaka (110 total comments)

“The school is currently going through the accreditation for NEASC and IB/PYP. This process may be delayed due to Covid-19…”

3. Doshisha International School Kyoto (134 total comments)

“DISK is working on accreditation with WASC, They were to do the initial visit before the end of this year, then Covid-19 messed it up. We expect them in September. Due to Covid-19, we extended the closure of campus to May 11. Learning is still taking place online…”

4. Copenhagen International School (375 total comments)

“Because of Covid 19, our school has been doing remote teaching for many weeks now. But after only 4 weeks, the Danish government has ordered that kids aged 0-10 should go to school (MS and HS still have remote learning, probably until the end of the year). The Early Years and Primary School sections are now teaching in person again on campus, but we have so many new rules and guidelines that we must follow. We are calling it “emergency learning”. One rule is that there can only be 10 kids per classroom because we need to have kids sit two meters apart and to limit the number of adults the students interact with. That in turn requires more teachers to teach a grade level, so the drama, art, music, etc teachers are now all classroom teachers teaching. It is very full on!”

5. Zurich International School (49 total comments)

“Students in EC-Grade 5 are using Seesaw as the primary platform for learning while students in 6-12 are using Google Classroom. This has been very helpful in transitioning to online learning due to the Covid-19 situation…”

6. Western International School of Shanghai (466 total comments)

“Pretty much all PD cancelled when Covid 19 hit. Even those that could have been rescheduled…”

7. American International School (Vietnam) (153 total comments)

Covid-19 has put teaching online. Added costs of increased electricity use and wifi upgrades (if required) must be born by teacher. One school in the vicinity has provided a bonus to its faculty for this increase in costs…”

8. Albanian College Tirana (20 total comments)

“New principal is hardly at school and doesn’t know teachers. In every critical situation (earthquake, Covid-19 closure) director was the first one to leave the country and ‘manage from distance’…”

9. Khartoum International Community School (142 total comments)

“As of March, 2020, KICS has switched to online learning/teaching as a response to the Covid-19 pandemic. It’s a bumpy transition, especially as it happened right at the start of the spring break, which is why some teachers and families are out of Sudan…”

10. Hoi An International School (41 total comments)

“Salaries for primary and secondary teachers have been cut to 80% during the Covid-19 shutdown even though teachers are expected to teach their full course load. IB PYP candidacy was abandoned…”

ISC would like to hear from you! Log on to ISC today and submit a comment about the consequences of Covid-19 on your international school. You can submit your comment in the School Information section under the comment topic “Recent things that the school has taken on (i.e. new curriculum, specific professional development, etc.).”

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Comment Topic Highlight

How much are international schools actually improving themselves?

May 1, 2020


Sometimes it feels like your international school is stuck in a rut. As hard as it tries and how well intentioned the teachers and administration are at attempting to make the needed changes, the school ends up just staying in the same lane doing the same things it has been doing for years/decades.

But many international schools do indeed figure out how to make the needed changes to help their school improve and move forward to be more current and progressive. It takes a lot of hard work and effort to get these changes to come to pass, sometimes it takes many months and more often years.

Maybe it has to do with international schools going through an accreditation process. They do need to go through a self-assessment phase to figure out what they are doing well and not so well. And then, finally after the accreditation is all over, they get an action plan with specific tasks to complete in the next few years. These tasks typically are required to complete with the aim at helping the school move forward and improve themselves.

Maybe the school gets a change of administration. New administrators in a school typically have a number of new goals that they’d like their new school to achieve and they inspire the staff there to join them. However, it is not always easy to get the staff to ‘get on board’ with the new changes.

More likely, it just comes down to the grassroots efforts of inspired teachers and administrators that are not only just doing their job very well, but often they will be doing things a bit outside their task portfolio. These inspired staff will find others to join them in the quest for change and improvement. And with a lot of hard work and figuring things out about how these changes could work, they get small and larger changes to happen. Getting change to occur is always a challenging task. But with an inspired effort and structured plan with clear expectations and purpose, these teachers and administrators get the job done!

Who doesn’t want to work for an international schools that is living their dream and their best self? When your international school is leading the way, it is the best feeling to be a part of that. The students will also want to be at that school as well!

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Luckily, International School Community has a comment topic on our school profile pages related to this topic of the improvements international schools are making. Our members can share what their experience has been working at various international schools around the world. There are a total of 242 comments (April 2020) that have been submitted by our veteran international school teachers in one of the 66 comment topics called – “How have certain things improved since you started working there?”

Here are a few of those submitted comments:

“I’ve been in IAA for a few years now. In that time it has gone through some major and positive changes. Most of it has been extremely overwhelming to most of the staff as they were used to a different way of doing things. In my opinion though, it’s been for the best. Now, we are more organized and structured than before. There’s been tons of professional development and new / higher expectations as well…” – InterAmerican Academy Guayaquil (Guayaquil, Ecuador) – 62 Total Comments

“We’ve added a small coaching team, we’ve begun in-house PD, and we’ve hired more teachers with longer international experience…” – Shanghai American School (Pudong) (Shanghai, China) – 88 Comments

“They have been working on having policies in writing and following those policies with more diligence. Before, things were a bit ad hoc but they’re trying to be more systematic…” – International School of Nanshan Shenzhen (Shenzhen, China) – 61 Total Comments

“I would say one of the biggest changes (at least in my division) has been morale. With a totally new administration team in the lower primary, people are quite happy and there is a nice sense of community. We have had very few vacancies the past couple years…” – Hong Kong International School(Hong Kong, China) – 145 Comments

“There has been an adjustment in salaries which is good for local staff as hyperinflation is a big issue. Recently, local staff have started getting subsidized lunches which helps a great deal. Secondary now has a TA which was very necessary as several students have special needs. This allows teachers to focus on other students and keep the lesson going…” – British School Caracas (Caracas, Venezuela) – 35 Comments

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Information for Members

16907 Total Comments in All the School Profile “School Information” Sections

April 25, 2020


As all International School Community members know, each of the 2147+ school profile pages on our website has four comments sections: School Information, Benefits Information, City Information and Travel Information.  Our members are encouraged to submit comments on one or all of these sections if they currently work at an international school or have worked at one in the past.

Example School Information page on Seoul Foreign School (Seoul, South Korea) – 172 Comments

It is important that we all share what we know so that we can in turn help other teachers make a more informed decision before they sign any contract! *Additionally, for every 10 comments you submit (which are anonymous by the way), you will automatically get one free month of premium membership added on to your account!  The more comments you leave, the more free membership you get!

So, what are the recent statistics about the School Information sections on all the school profile pages?  The current total number of submitted comments in the School Information section is 16907 (out of a total of 36283+ comments).

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

• Describe the different aspects of the school building and the school grounds. Also, describe the surrounding area around the campus. (1594 Total Comments)

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

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• What types of accreditation does this school have? When is the accreditation up for renewal? Any religious affiliations? (1193 Total Comments)

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

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• Recent things that the school has taken on (i.e. new curriculum, specific professional development, etc.). (781 Total Comments)

Example comment: “The school is discussing becoming IB and has implemented Teacher’s College Readers and Writer’s Workshop as well as whole language learning in the primary schools. Secondary schools do MAPS-based action plans to show and monitor student improvement and compare them to US students.” – American School of Torreon (Torreon, Mexico) – 64 Comments

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• Describe their hiring policies. Which recruiting fairs do they go to? How do they typically hire (e.g. face-to-face interview, Skype, etc.)? Are there any hiring restrictions mandated by the country? (1543 Total Comments)

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

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• Describe school’s location in relation to the city center and to the teacher’s housing. How do staff get to school before and after school? (1462 Total Comments)

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

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• Are the expectations high of teaching staff? Are there extra curricular responsibilities? Describe workload details. (828 Total Comments)

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

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• Average class size for primary and secondary. Describe any aide support. (848 Total Comments)

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

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• Describe language abilities of students at this school and what is the “common language spoken in the hallways”? Is there one dominate culture group? (1229 Total Comments)

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

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• Describe what kinds of teachers work here (local vs. expat, nationality, qualifications [or lack there of], etc.) and staff turnover rate. (1268 Total Comments)

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

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• What types of budgets to classroom teachers/departments get? (518 Total Comments)

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

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• PARENTS ONLY – General comments from parents of students that go to this school (181 Total Comments)

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

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• What types of sports programs and activities does the school offer? (701 Total Comments)

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

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• Name some special things about this school that makes it unique. (689 Total Comments)

Example comment: “The school has an excellent music program that frequently presents music and drama to the local community and other schools. Students in the diploma program seek out ways to serve the community needs.” – Oeiras International School (Lisbon, Portugal) – 183 Comments

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• In general, describe the demeanor of the students. (617 Total Comments)

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

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• Has the school met your expectations once you started working there? (342 Total Comments)

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

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• What does the school do to create a harmonious state of well-being and high morale amongst its staff? (400 Total Comments)

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

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• Describe the technologies available at the school and how people are/are not using them. (485 Total Comments)

Example comment: “Each teacher has a PC (windows only. The printer server won’t talk to macs) and a smart board. However, the smart boards are not all hooked up or working so it’s a very expensive video screen. Slow internet. Nothing Google, youtube, or Facebook works in China.” – Tsinghua International School (Beijing) (Beijing, China) – 158 Comments

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• Details about the current teacher appraisal process. (306 Total Comments)

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

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• Is the student population declining, staying the same or increasing? Give details why. (460 Total Comments)

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

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• How have certain things improved since you started working there? (242 Total Comments)

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

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• How is this school different or the same when compared to schools in your home country? (178 Total Comments)

Example comment: “Well one thing that my school had in the United States was a coordinator for reading in the Primary school. I feel that CIS would benefit from having one of those. We need somebody to coordinate how the primary school teaches reading and someone to coordinate resources. Also, someone to help us have a clearer stop and sequence across the grade levels.” – Copenhagen International School (Copenhagen, Denmark) – 375 Comments

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• What controversies have been happening lately? Please be objective. (306 Total Comments)

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

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• What insider information would you give to a teacher considering working at this school? (456 Total Comments)

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

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• How much curriculum development work are you expected to do? (Atlas Rubicon, etc.) (280 Total Comments)

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

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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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Highlighted Articles

Shut Down Due to Health Emergency: Four Stories from International Schools in China and Vietnam

February 9, 2020


We all seem to know somebody in the international school community that is being affected by the health scare in Asia connected to the Coronavirus.

But how are those international schools coping with this situation? What are the teachers’ responsibilities? Where are the teachers doing the online teaching? Which technologies are they using? What is the overall feeling of the situation from all stakeholders? How was the organization of it all?

Here are four stories from four different teachers at international schools in China and Vietnam:

International School of Tianjin

In the days leading up to the Chinese New Year break, there was awareness and increasing concern about the new virus in China. A lot of masks were being worn at school and some students were talking about it with a degree of concern. The virus quickly became a national issue and by the third day of the break, on January 28, we were told that school would be closed until at least February 17. During the holiday week our school let us know that we would be implementing an online learning structure. Leadership teams met and outlined what this would look like in order to continue to provide a rigorous curriculum but not overwhelm the students and parents. In elementary school our primary platform is Seesaw, which the students had already been using all year. We are maintaining the daily schedule as much as possible (i.e. if your class has PE on Monday, the PE teacher would send an assignment on Seesaw that day). Homeroom teachers are expected to send out a morning message with daily assignments by 9:00 each day and be available for the entire work day providing feedback to students. The secondary school is following a similar model using Microsoft Teams and Managebac to share content and assignments.

It has been more work than everyone anticipated, but it has also been nice to be able to connect with students. As parents we are also working with our own children and it has been good to create some structure in their day as the time away from school stretches on. The situation is ongoing. We are far from Wuhan, but there have been a number of cases reported in our city. There is not a formal quarantine but movement is very limited and we are under a lot of pressure to stay indoors at all times. The police are outside taking temperatures and collecting information. As of right now it is likely that the school will stay closed for several more weeks and there is a lot of uncertainty. We are hoping for a resolution of some kind to this crisis and we look forward to getting back to the familiar routines of a normal school day.

American International School in Shanghai, China

I work at an American International School in Shanghai, China. We received an email about starting E-learning lesson on Feb. 3rd and to contact our administrators if we had questions. The email stated to follow our daily class schedule and post a mini lesson video of no less than 15 minutes for each subject taught. As an EAL teacher in primary for different grades, I’ve had to make reading, writing, phonics, and handwriting videos. The email also had a long list of expectations for teachers such as assignments with deadlines to be uploaded on our grading website, students must work for 30 minutes and give feedback. However, little to no support has been given on the IT side of e-lessons, other than contact your supervisor for questions. Edmodo was the only platform suggested to use where someone could support you with it, but we were told to use any platform we preferred which led to parents getting bombarded with messages to sign up to Edmodo, Seesaw and others. I only chose Seesaw because my collaborating teachers were using it, and I wanted to make it easier for my students’ parents.

The two biggest problems we are facing with our E-lessons is not being allowed to use Google technology due to its restrictions in China and most parents not having a VPN. Second one was how to upload videos of 15 minutes in Wechat when it has a five-minute limit. Our school’s official Wechat group went blasting with messages about condensing videos using different websites, different APPs, and etc. Nothing concrete on these APPs with specific tutorials on how to get set it up in a few days to start running e-learning. These links were all helpful however we needed time for E-training, which we haven’t receive in 3 years that I’ve been working there. Luckily for me, I had received classes on using technology in grad school.

I think my school’s expectations are unrealistic due to parents and teachers being stranded all over the world due to CNY holidays and not having access to reliable internet. I was vacationing in Boracay, so I did my lessons with an IPad and my IPhone. Yes, I am without a laptop making this a headache for me. I also have limited or unreliable internet access. Also, you can’t expect the same teaching as the classroom when not everyone has internet, web knowledge or skills, nor the time to sit through a regular day schedule of videos, which include videos for math, science, reading, writing, Specials subject (art, P.E., etc), and foreign language for K-5. Parents spent a long time setting up accounts, learning how to navigate one, two or three APPs. In all honesty, it was hell for teachers, parents and students. I’ve been working around the clock answering questions from parents.

One parent said it best when he voiced his frustrations “Parents can’t teach children. We are not native speakers nor teachers.” Think about the difficulties one of my student’s parent is facing having to login to different APPS and instructions from all teachers for her three children. Can you imagine the series of videos they have to watch daily for each kid? She is beyond frustrated because she’s in the pharmaceutical industry, so she’s still working during the day and has to come home to help her children.

You see I’m happy to learn as I’m doing e-lessons, but I wish my school was more realistic and practical with their expectations. Although I think handwriting is important, I don’t think under these circumstances we need to have e-lesson. I’ve only been focusing on reading and writing and that’s all I can do for now. That’s all more than enough for parents to handle. They are not trained teachers to assist their kids specially in grades K to 3 where children have a shorter attention span and are not yet independent learners. I can teach in a video, but can students be expect to sit through six videos of 10-15 minutes from all their teachers? 

An International School in Ho Chi Minh City

On the Saturday before the school was supposed to open after the Tet (Lunar New Year) holiday, the school sent an email to staff and parents saying they intended to keep the school open during the Coronavirus outbreak, outlining the enhanced health and safety measures the school would implement. Less than an hour later, the Vietnamese government announced that the virus was an epidemic and all the local and international schools decided to close soon after. Such is life when you live in a country where the government is less than transparent – executive decisions seem to come at short notice, and all schools and administrators can do is adapt as best they can.

As teachers, we all know that death, taxes, and faculty meetings are the unchanging staples of life. As such, even though the students are away, we have faculty meetings three days a week. We enter the campus one at a time, as a guard checks our temperature and directs us to a giant bottle of hand sanitizer we must use before entering. We are updated on the situation on the ground and how it affects school. We meet about students of concern – who’s not doing their remote work, who didn’t bother to check their email until Tuesday, etc. We also discuss strategies for remote work. Everyone uses various online platforms and is happy to share success stories and advice. This is the silver lining of the whole situation: while remote learning is a bit dull if you actually enjoy engaging with students as individual human beings, it’s a great opportunity to experiment with different types of learning platforms. I’m using Edpuzzle and Flipgrid for the first time – I’m not sure if I would have the time or inclination to test them in normal circumstances, but I’m happy to test them out in hopes that I can use them again when everything returns to normal.

United World College Changshu China

When I accepted an offer to work in China I was never to expect that something like the outbreak of Corona virus would happen. However, I consider myself to be the virus free, being in self quarantine for the last 12 days without showing any symptom of infection.

As for the next week, I am required to start teaching online. What does it mean in terms of my effectiveness to share knowledge with students in few classes (different subjects, years and levels)? To be honest, the difference in comparison to my usual days when in school is not so significant (in theoretical terms). As since the beginning of this school year, we have been required to explore and use opportunities of digital learning. My usual working day (for the last few days) starts around 9am and I work, both with teachers and students for the next few hours (read, until I start getting that feeling that my brain will explode). I am relying on Microsoft Teams as the school follows the official Chinese politics and does not welcome Google classrooms. The initial stage of working with Microsoft Teams (this is not an advertisement!) may seems confusing as you can create as many Teams (groups and classes) as you want but soon you may realize that you may be overwhelmed with the amount of messages which keep on getting higher. Students are being required to learn about services of Microsoft Teams on their own while teachers have received some support in that. This basically means that in theory I can use any teaching platform which fits to my current needs, but in reality I have to communicate lessons and instructions on Teams and Manage back only. I am also using Wechat for a quick communication with students.

What I am also currently surviving is the feeling of panic as I have students from six different continents in my classroom and I must reach all of them. I am currently planning our virtual timetable and that seems to be the biggest challenge that we are currently facing (as I must offer face to face instructions). For the last 24 hours I was trying to reach students across the globe, to determine their time zones and assure them that they will have enough knowledge and skills to take the final exams.

In terms of strategy, what to do, how to deliver lessons, I can no longer rely on lesson plans being planned for our classroom space as they emphasize the value of activities much. Now I am trying to find text and create written assignments which would force them to read, think, analyze and construct their responses. In terms of what to do for summative assessment, well, as for now, that is science fiction. I am counting on their honesty when doing formative assessment (though I still aim to use Turnitin).

All in all, the sense of panic is still being strong as I don’t fixed timetable and I am rushing to plan lessons for five different teaching programs,. There is a feeling of fear in me too as some of my students are in cities which were locked down more than two weeks ago and their chance for survival depends only on their willingness not to leave their apartments.

To finish this story, I am still learning how to deliver completely effective virtual classes but I have delivered my first teaching instructions already (in the virtual space which reminds to those of countless forums). I am spending much of my time in calling students wherever they are, to assure them that we can go through this situation and that no one of them will be damaged in terms of their knowledge acquisition.

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Information for Members

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

December 5, 2019


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

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

Mayor responsibilities:

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

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

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

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

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

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

NIST International School (Bangkok, Thailand) – 298 Comments

Tarsus American College (Mersin, Turkey) – 139 Comments

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

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

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

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

Copenhagen International School (Copenhagen, Denmark) – 366 Comments

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Information for Members

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

November 12, 2019


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

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

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

international schools

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

26 members – American International School in Egypt

international schools

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

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

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

international schools

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

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Information for Members

ISC now has over 2100 international school profiles listed

September 29, 2019


At International School Community, we now have over 2100 international school profiles listed on our website!

The last 5 schools to be added:

Colegio Americano Menno (La Mesa, Colombia) – 0 Comments
The Village School (Houston, USA) – 24 Comments
The International School @ ParkCity Hanoi (ISPH) (Hanoi, Vietnam) – 1 Comments
The Escola Internacional del Camp (Salou – EIC) (Salou, Spain) – 0 Comments
PaRK International School (Lisbon, Portugal) – 0 Comments

The top 5 schools with the most members:

American International School in Egypt (Main Campus) (New Cairo City, Egypt) – 25 Members
Copenhagen International School (Copenhagen, Denmark) – 24 Members
International School of Kuala Lumpur (Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia) – 22 Members
International School Manila (Manila, Philippines) – 21 Members
Western International School of Shanghai (Shanghai, China) – 18 Members

The top 5 most viewed schools:

Colegio Granadino Manizales (Manizales, Colombia) – 37232 Views
American International School of Budapest (Budapest, Hungary) – 19338 Views
American School of Barcelona (Barcelona, Spain) – 2735 Views
Copenhagen International School (Copenhagen, Denmark) – 2593 Views
International School of Kuala Lumpur (Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia) – 2553 Views

The last 5 schools to have something written on their wall:

International School of the Hague (The Hague, The Netherlands) – 63 Comments
International School of Helsingborg (Helsingborg, Sweden) – 13 Comments
World Academy of Tirana (Tirana, Albania) – 21 Comments
Colegio Roosevelt Lima (FDR) [The American School of Lima] (Lima, Peru) – 28 Comments
Renaissance International School Saigon (Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam) – 23 Comments

But check them all our yourself!  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!  

International School Community has the following 2110 international schools listed on our website (last updated on 29 September, 2019)

Results: (184) Countries, (797) Cities, (2110) Schools, (33366) Comments

Asia (207)

Caribbean (39)

Central America (45)

Central/Eastern Europe (114)

East Asia (309)

Middle East (282)

North Africa (65)

North America (108)

Oceania (31)

SE Asia (322)

South America (98)

Sub-Saharan Africa (172)

Western Europe (318)

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Information for Members

ISC Helps You to Compare the Salaries at 100s of International Schools

August 11, 2019


A survey that we did a few years ago made it clear which information international school teachers want to find out about when recruiting; and that is Salary Details.

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What if you are only considering working in Shanghai? Or maybe you are only interested in working in Germany and flexible about the city in which you would live. It would be invaluable information if you could access details about the salaries of all the international schools in that area of the world. Once you are able to take a look at the different salary details of a number of international schools, it could help you make a better decision on whether to accept an offer or not or which school you should put most of your focus on.

Compare School Salaries page: A unique feature on International School Community

Currently, we have over 1216 individual comments about international school salaries that have been submitted on our website (August 2019).  The specific comments and information about salaries have been submitted on 731 different international schools (August 2019).

The topic related to salaries (that members have left comments on) is on the Benefits tab which can be found on each school profile page.  The comment topic is called “Average monthly salary after taxes and in what currency (explain taxation situation). How often do you get paid throughout the year?”  Members are encouraged to leave informative details on a typical teacher’s monthly take-home salary at that school.

When you first visit the School Salaries page (premium membership access is needed), you will find that all the international schools (that have comments about salaries on their profile pages) are listed in alphabetical order. You can have a browse though all the schools there. But if you want to just view the schools from a specific region, country or city in the world, then make sure to use the Filter button on the right.  The filter feature allows you to filter the schools listed here and narrow down the list. You can more quickly find the specific schools at which you are most interested in checking-out.

For example, let’s say you are only interested in working at an international school in Central/Eastern Europe.  Just click on the Select Region tab and select Central/Eastern Europe. After that, press the green Search button and voila…only the schools matching your criteria show (currently 40 comments from 24 different international schools).


To see the exact salary comments, just click on the school. Here are some examples:

salaries

You could say that international schools like to keep their exact salary details secret.  Rarely do you find specific information about take-home salary on their websites.  Even on other websites where international schools display their vacancies, specific salary details are sometimes hard to find.  In turn, our Compare School Salaries page is quite special, useful and unique!

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Comment Topic Highlight

How is the students’ behavior at your international school?

March 11, 2019


“Why don’t you want to leave this international school and try another one?”

“Well, the students here are the best.”

“But there are good/nice students everywhere, right?”

Maybe you have had this conversation before with a “seasoned international school teacher“, but then you decided to move on to a new international school to test out this hypothesis.

Are there indeed good/nice international school students everywhere?

You might just find yourself missing the students at your previous international school.

So, how can students at an international school be so different?

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Many people are quick to say that students at international schools are snobby and stuck-up (because supposedly they are coming from wealthy families).  Though this might be true for many international schools, but it is often not always the case.

There are some international schools where the students are more like zombies; they will sit in your class and not make too much noise. These zombie students will answer the questions you ask them, but they won’t discuss the questions very much and give strong opinions.

There are also international schools where the kids appear to be in charge. These outgoing, borderline rude kids maybe have been influenced more so by the host-country culture of how their students behave in the local schools.

Of course, there are also international schools that have very well-behaved kids, overall.  The question is then how did they become these kind and considerate kids?

What then determines the demeanor or behavior of the students at international schools?  Is it something that is out of the control of the teachers and administration, and an already established culture of the school?  Or is it something that the teachers and administration carefully plan and articulate to the students over a series of years (maybe even from the founding of the school)?

Another theory is that it is possible that the students’ behavior is directly linked to the behavior of the teachers and how they interact with the other teachers/administration and the students themselves.

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Let’s not forget the parents as well!  It is clear that they play a role in this. But with so many parents from potentially numerous countries around the world, it is unclear how the parents, as a whole, could play a direct role in the demeanor of the students at school.

Some schools try different behavor programs to help the behavior of their students. After searching ‘Responsive Classroom‘ using our Comment Search feature (premium membership access needed), we found 6 comments on 4 different international schools. After searching ‘Learner Profile‘, we found another 6 comments on 5 different international schools.

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Luckily, International School Community has a comment topic on our school profile pages related to this topic of new things added at a school. Our members can share what current international schools are doing in this topic. There are a total of 528 comments (March. 2019) that have been submitted by our veteran international school teachers in one of the 66 comment topics called – “In general, describe the demeanor of the students.”

Here are a few of those submitted comments:

“They are very sweet, respectful, and their families instill educational values. Some of the cultural differences do create problems, but this is something to get used to as in any international school…” –
Shanghai American School (Pudong) (Shanghai, China) – 64 Total Comments

“The students at school are nice kids. Very friendly. Very Chinese. There are some cultural hurdles that expats new to teaching Chinese kids encounter like the general passivity in class. It takes adjustments to figure out how to teach effectively. They are, outside the classroom, very chatty, noisy, and sometimes spoiled…” – Nanwai King’s College School Wuxi (Wuxi, China) – 38 Comments

“The student population is majority South Korean, which can cause problems. They tend to speak Korean and teachers and other students are left out of the conversations. The Korean students often times will only hang out with other Korean kids…” – Hanova International School (Xi’an) (Xi’an, China) – 73 Total Comments

“Students are generally polite and respectful. The main student academic issues tend to revolve around organization (or lack thereof). A bigger concern is usually student stress brought on by lack of sleep and being overly focused on grades…” – Washington International School (Tregaron Campus) (Washington D.C., USA) – 31 Comments

“Most students are at the school to get a good education in order to go to university programs in Europe or North America. They are willing to work to achieve this goal. Of course, as with everywhere, there is a percentage of students who what think they deserve good marks because of who they are…” – United World College of Costa Rica (San Jose, Costa Rica) – 108 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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Comment Topic Highlight

Back to School Initiatives and New Demands: Welcoming or Stressful?

September 20, 2018


Every school year, a school always goes through some new changes or simply experiences new things that the staff is now required to do or complete. The changes could be related to the school’s curriculum, to some new professional development based on new initiatives, new building procedures (like fire drills), new mandatory training (like child protection), etc.

Stressful

For many things (like ones actually dictated by the host country), they are mandatory and the admin simply just needs to fit those required things into their yearly meeting schedule.  Combine those required things with the other things and initiatives that a school wants to do, it can make for a sometimes stressful school year for the staff (and admin!). Furthermore, balancing these new things with your normal planning work and actually teaching students can prove to be very challenging.

So what are some of these new initiatives that international schools are focusing on in recent years?

A number of international schools are having their staff work with the Managebac program. There are 57+ comments related to Managebac on our website.

It’s also fairly certain that your school is now or will very soon be going through an accreditation. ISC has 347+ total comments related to school accreditation on 247 international schools at the moment.

With regards to curriculum, it appears that a number of schools are doing training with the Common Core curriculum. There are 24 comments that are about the different schools taking on this in recent years.

There are also 25 comments on IB training.  117 comments on different workshops going on in 90+ international schools.

And the list goes on…

What is a possible plan then for balancing all of these newly added things so that staff and admin don’t get too overwhelmed?  As one ISC member wrote about working at United Nations International School (Vietnam), “the [needs to be a] conscious adoption of a “less is more” ethos.”

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Luckily, International School Community has a comment topic on our school profile pages related to this topic of new things added at a school. Our members can share what current international schools are doing in this topic. There are a total of 567 comments (Sept. 2018) that have been submitted by our veteran international school teachers in one of the 65 comment topics called – “Recent things that the school has taken on (i.e. new curriculum, specific professional development, etc.).”

Here are a few of those submitted comments:

“The use of Kagan cooperative structures is the focus for this year. The entire faculty had 2 days of training before the commencement of the school year with another session upcoming later in the year. The goal being student engagement. Most of the faculty have been receptive and are already using the structures in their classrooms…” – Seoul Foreign School (Seoul, South Korea)147 Total Comments

“The school just finished a multi-year curriculum initiative designed to put the entire Pre-K through 12th grade curriculum documents onto Rubicon Atlas. The school seems to focus most on literacy in the Lower School, innovation and design in the Middle School, and IB/AP in the Upper School. School-wide, there is a focus on Differentiated Instruction, but this takes different forms in different divisions. There is a new Head of School coming in for the 2018-2019 school year…” – American School of Paris (Paris, France)47 Comments

“The administration said they care more about kids learning English and Maths rather than any other subjects. What makes the school unique, seems independent of what they are pursuing; bring more local students no matter what their academic level is…” – Changchun American International School (Changchun, China)122 Total Comments

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“Professional development this year has included IBDP two-day Category 3 in-school workshops on the Extended Essay and Theory of Knowledge. All staff also completed a Stewards of Children online course and a one-day first aid and CPR course…” – Tsukuba International School (Tsukuba, Japan)25 Comments

“The school has offered, over the past two years, very little in terms of professional development. There has been talk of a curriculum change to the Cambridge Primary Curriculum for September 2018…” – Cambridge School Doha (Doha, Qatar)57 Comments

“The school is just setting up a Professional Learning Centre to improve instruction and practice at the school first. The school has designated professional learning time on Friday afternoons and encourages professional development…” –  YK Pao School (Shanghai, China)38 Comments

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Member Spotlights

Member Spotlight #38: Tareq Hajjaj (A teacher at The American School of Belo Horizonte)

September 11, 2018


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

member spotlight
Tell us about your background.  Where are you from?

I very much consider myself a third-culture kid despite living 25/31 years in Western Sydney. This area is the most culturally diverse area in the southern hemisphere and I grew up experiencing both Australian and Arab cultures.

Born in Kuwait, I spent the first four years of my life there before migrating to Australia. Throughout my life I frequently travelled to Jordan to visit my extended family. My family originates from Palestine before it was partitioned. And previous to that, we have routes in Egypt.

My schooling and tertiary education were completed in Sydney. When I was completing my high school studies, I was considering teaching as my profession. Although, I decided to study a Bachelor of Commerce first knowing that obtaining a Masters of Teaching would only take two years of full-time study on top of that.

Throughout my tertiary studies, I worked in a variety of education and community welfare jobs. At that time, I never thought I would be embarking on an international teaching journey. I was very much a typical guy in his 20s in Australia. I loved Rugby League, Touch Rugby and cycling and all my travels with friends via domestic trips. By the time I graduated, I was ready to experience a life-changing international journey.

How did you get started in the international teaching community?

During my last semester of university, I attended a job fair organised for the post graduate students completing educational courses in my university. At the fair were some recruiters looking for teachers to work in the UK and I immediately was interested. The process was straight forward. The recruiter organised an interview with herself and then a principal within a school. They liked my enthusiasm and how I was looking forward to the adventure and willing to learn about the UK curriculum. From there I had to collect documentation such as police checks, and I was helped to apply for a Youth Mobility Visa. Before I knew it, I was offered a short term maternity leave contract for a Grade 5 class and a few weeks after graduating, I was ready for a September start in the UK.

Before going to the UK, I took a detour to visit a close friend of mine in Shanghai for one week. He was about to begin his 2nd international teaching post. It was a wonderful visit which opened my eyes to a new culture.  It wasn’t long before I was back there teaching kindergarten.

In my first year of teaching I was extremely lucky to have had the opportunity to have completed six weeks of casual teaching in Australia, a semester block as a Grade 5 homeroom teacher in an East London public school, and being the first teacher to open the one of two new kindergarten classes (a first for the school). My life was very different; I met so many new people, learned how to speak basic conversational mandarin, enjoyed a diverse lifestyle in two major world class cities and grew a lot as a teacher.

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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.

I have worked in England (Brookside Junior School), Egypt (Cairo English School), China (Shanghai United International School, Fudan International School and Guangdong Country Garden School), and Brazil (The American School of Belo Horizonte.) In this time I have had the opportunity to teach Canadian British Columbian, UK National Curriculum, American Common Core Curriculum as well as the International Baccalaureate. All schools were fun places to work.

Cairo English School stands out as the school with a stunning campus. It had over 1500 students and chaotic hallways but the students were always cheerful and there were always many extravagant events going on around the school.

An even bigger school was Guangdong Country Garden School. They had over 4500 students! It was impossible to even meet all the students. I worked in the kindergarten. I remember the play times with over four hundred 3-5-year-old students running around in many directions. It was a boarding school, and it was common to see even kindergarten students still having lessons in the evening.

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Both Fudan International School and The American School of Belo Horizonte are smaller schools with approximately 350 students from K-12. I was the Grade 5 homeroom teacher at both schools so I was given a lot of freedom in planning a lot of the curriculum according to the American Common Core and IB syllabi, and the school’s scope and sequence.

It is still hard to decide whether I prefer the larger schools or smaller schools. They both have their advantages. Every school was unique in its own way.

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

I have been in Belo Horizonte for two months now. My impression is that Brazilians are very social and love to enjoy themselves. Every weekend there is loud music coming from different places in my neighbourhood and many social gatherings within my apartment complex. Just about everybody greets you in a friendly manner and people are usually excited to hear where I am from and speak of their desires to visit there.

Belo Horizonte is considered the Brazilian Belgium. It may not be known for having beautiful beaches like the other places in Brazil, but it is known for producing beers of good quality such as Krug Bier, FalkBier, Backer, Küd, Wäls and Artesamalte. To complement this you will find the popular night spot of Savassi heaving every weekend complemented by music festivals.

Whilst Belo Horizonte seems to be unknown from the outside world, it is the third largest city in Brazil. It boasts the most bars per capita with over 12,000 bars in the city. Most of these are informal sit down spots where you can enjoy an informal meal. Beagá (the city’s nickname which is its initials in Portuguese) also boast a fine arts culture with beautiful street art sprawled around the city. It is definitely a hidden gem (and ironically the mining capital of the country).

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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?

It is very important to be responsible and choose your employer well. That means finding out as much as you can about the position and the school, where you will live and information about the country you will be living in. After you have found out as much as possible, evaluate what is really important to you.

For me, as I have moved around a few times in my 7 years of teaching. Now I am more inclined to look for supportive school that will offer me 2-3 year contracts and ongoing professional development so I can take my teaching pedagogy to the next level.

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

An amazing and unforgettable experience.

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Thanks, Tareq Hajjaj!

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 Tareq Hajjaj?  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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Comment Topic Highlight

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

August 5, 2018


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

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

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

staff outings

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

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

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

Here are a few of those submitted comments:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Traveling Around

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

June 11, 2018


Traveling Around: Zhouzhuang, China

Can you relate?

  • If you visit Shanghai take a day or two side trip to an ancient water town, there are many.
  • Take a canal cruise and have the boatswain sing to you.
  • Use a driver from Zhouzhuang 600RMB (Tom 150-5166 5990, lives in Zhouzhang and has a family), a driver from Shanghai 2000RMB.

  • Zhouzhuang makes it’s own beer and has a local distillery!
  • This town is difficult to find a C-Trip hotel. Anyplace to stay in the city is listed as a Historical Site. After we booked a hotel under construction the Mayor came to our rescue!
  • The lady in charge of tourism found a room for us with an older couple in the center of the preserved district for about 75RMB per night (including hot tea morning and night!)

  • Remember, no parking in this ancient city. This place was not designed for cars! Commercial hotels are outside the ancient boundaries.
  • Many artists with high quality artwork on sale on the streets of town. We got a great calligraphy by a struggling artist.
  • Fishermen use cormorants to fish in Lake Taishi thus the reason so many boathouses as boats and birds come to roost.
  • Zhouzhaung is known for the “double bridges”.

  • Chinese Opera House on the “Ancient Platform” rebuilt in the year 2000.
  • Many great silk shops, ties three for 60RMB
  • Shops that spin their own cotton and make clothing of all sizes!
  • Fantastic teapots made from stone!

  • Shen Wansan, the first millionaire in the Lower Yangtze is from Zhouzhuang!
  • Lot’s of walking around, many bridges, shops everywhere!
  • Many places to eat, traditional Chinese food with reasonable prices.

Currently, we have 197 international schools listed in China on International School Community. 132 of them have had comments submitted on them. Here are a few of those schools:

Access International Academy (Ningbo) 48 Comments
Beijing BISS International School67 Comments
Beijing International Bilingual Academy53 Comments
Canadian International School (Hong Kong)134 Comments
Changchun American International School 111 Comments
Concordia International School (Shanghai) 166 Comments
Guangzhou Nanfang International School – 163 Comments
Hong Kong International School – 127 Comments
Kang Chiao International School (Kunshan) – 81 Comments
Keystone Academy – 94 Comments
QSI International School of Dongguan – 64 Comments

If you are on a trip right now, away from your host country, write to us here 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 1 free year of premium membership!

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Overview of an Int’l School

New Opportunities to Teach at a National School in China

April 14, 2018


You may not have heard of Cixi – it’s a city close to Ningbo and not far from Shanghai (about 1 ½ hours by fast train, 2 hours by car) – but it’s a really interesting place. It is at the centre of the ‘Golden Triangle’, the area between Shanghai, Hangzhou and Ningbo, and it ranks in the top ten of the richest county-level cities in China and is considered to be one of the happiest. Maybe there is a link there! Or it could be to do with there being no pollution and lots of blue skies!

Chinese Schools

We have a new school opening in Cixi at the beginning of September 2018, and we think it is going to be quite different from both traditional Chinese schools and international schools. Let me explain……

The name of the school is Cixi Wengu Foreign Language School, and it is aiming to provide all that’s best about the Chinese National Curriculum, but to combine that with some of the best features of international education. Chinese parents have become very discerning – they have a clear idea of what they are want for their children and what they want includes access to foreign languages, especially English, and exposure to a dynamic, international-style education. At the same time, they want the best features of the traditional education (like they experienced as children) to be maintained.

Chinese Schools

In Cixi, we intend to provide both. We are recruiting (would you be interested?) qualified foreign primary teachers who will work alongside their Chinese colleagues. For some of the time the foreign teachers will lead lessons, with the Chinese teachers supporting, for the rest of the time their positions will be reversed. We fully recognize the challenge this will present, particularly in relation to the communication and professional understanding that will be necessary for it to work well. We also recognize that it will have to be a gradual process of introduction, as both children and teachers get used to a new way of working.

We anticipate the school will open with four classes of grade 1 students, and a grade will be added each year. This, we feel, is a manageable way of introducing this new way of working, and it should allow plenty of time to consolidate everyone’s understanding and practice.

Chinese Schools

For a foreign teacher, it will certainly present new challenges. For that reason, we are offering our teachers salaries and benefits more like Beijing and Shanghai than like other second tier cities. What is it they say about offering peanuts and getting……….? For our plan to work, we will need really high quality teachers who are up for the challenge of being part of something new and who are flexible enough to embrace this new way of working.

Initially the school will be operating in a separate wing of the enormous kindergarten next door – this will be until our amazing new buildings are completed. The pictures attached will, I hope, give an indication of the quality of the facilities we will enjoy.

This article was submitted to us by Roger Fisher, one of the recruiters for a new school in Cixi, China.

If you have any comments / questions about any of this, if you have worked in a school offering a similar way of working, or if you fancy being part of what we are planning, do please get in touch using roger.fisher@xueda.com.

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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.

drama

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.’

drama

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.

drama

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!

drama

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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Highlighted Articles

Six Ways to Impress at an International School Recruitment Fair

November 30, 2017


2017 is coming to a close, which means it’s that time of year to start considering your next possible career moves. Are you ready to explore the opportunities? If so what do you do next? One of the best ways to get an idea of what’s out there is by attending an international educator’s recruitment fair.

recruitment fair

Explore CRS are running our annual Fairs again in Shanghai and Abu Dhabi early next year. These are conducted over the course of 3 days each where we invite hundreds of candidates to meet with elite schools from across wider Asia and The Middle East. These events provide both schools and educators a chance to connect with each other and seek new opportunities on both sides to build faculty staff and careers. We also invite attending schools to run professional development workshops. These will be on a variety of topics and provide a unique opportunity for the schools to showcase their establishment and core mission/values to interested candidates.

We like to ensure that our events maintain a collegial and social atmosphere without too stressful or competitive an environment. It’s our aim to make the Fairs a pleasant and friendly experience for everyone involved without the highly pressured tone that can sometimes be felt at other recruitment events. With this in mind, we will usually select around 25 schools to attend per Fair, so we can still offer a variety of options to candidates.

We also hold a candidate and recruiter mixer after the first day of the Fair. This is a relaxed and informal drinks and canapés evening, courtesy of Explore CRS so attendees can relax and network after a busy and exciting day.

So how does an educator stand out amongst the crowd at the Fair when they’re trying to find the next job of their dreams?

recruitment fair

6 ways to impress at an international education recruitment fair

• Research the schools who are attending – check out who’s coming in advance and do your homework. As well as qualifications and experience, schools are looking for candidates that want to embrace their school culture and values. If you have read up beforehand and feel you would be a great fit – let that show.

• Don’t be afraid to approach the schools and sell yourself – it may seem intimidating, but this is a jobs fair. If you want to get noticed – you need to push yourself and put your best foot forward. There’s an allotted time within which to make a great impression and ensure you get yourself an interview.

• Have plenty of copies of your CV ready to hand – you will need to hand a lot of these out so make sure they are organized and easily accessible whilst moving from stand to stand.

• Make time to speak to fellow candidates as well as the recruiting schools – there will be hundreds of other educators there all in the same boat as you. They may be able to share useful information with you. Which school is worth talking to? Which ones didn’t seem to be as worthwhile?

• Get your pitch prepared – the open session when you are trying to talk to potential schools is busy and there are a lot of other people also trying to get an interview lined up. Make sure you don’t waste any time when its your turn in front of the recruiters. Its your moment to win them over!

• Dress the part – it may seem obvious, but this is your chance to make a great first impression. Make sure you are professionally turned out to present yourself in the best possible light.

recruitment fair

At Explore CRS we recruit international teachers and provide consultancy services to the international school sector, with a particular focus on the wider Asia region. Based in Shanghai, we know what operating in this sector means for daily life and work.

Our primary concern is ensuring we provide an honest and efficient service to bring the right people together. It is important to us to understand a schools’ vision and a teaching candidates’ career goals. It’s our job to bring these two elements together and find the right fit.

If you are interested in progressing your international teaching career, then we would be delighted to help you take the next steps towards your new role. Please contact us at info@explorecrs.com or visit www.explorecrs.com for more information.

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Highlighted Articles

International School Hiring Season Trends for 2017-2018

October 11, 2017


When it comes to landing a position at an International School, there are several ways candidates can increase their desirability in the eyes of the employer outside of the usual suspects (Degree in education, teaching license). Of course, a degree in education and teaching license will go a long way and there are some schools that do not look beyond this, with some International schools there are other factors that can be taken into account. Here are some things you can do to help you land that international school position you have been looking at:

hiring trends

Curriculum Experience

Although there are many different curriculums, the big three curriculums in International Education are British (Key stage/GCSE/A-Levels), American (Common Core/AP Level), and IB. Included in this for Earl Childhood Education is Montessori kindergartens. Having experience, or even taking a course in one of these will increase your hireability if this is the curriculum that the school you are applying for uses. The school will be able to see you have a level of familiarity with their materials which should help with the transition into the school. Simply put, it increases your dependability in the eyes of the school.

On a related theme, having consistency in your resume and experience is something that International schools do take into account. Being able to show a level of reliability with previous positions where contracts were completed, or maybe even extended, is great. International schools are looking for candidates who will stay with their school for many years. Address any gaps or potential red flags in your resume, as being proactive and explaining experience will prevent hiring managers minds from presuming the worse.

hiring trends

Professional Image

An International school is always looking to portray a professional image, and therefore want their teachers to do the same. Responding to emails in a timely manner, being on time for the interview and dressing smart seem obvious, but at the same time are essential. Also, be sure to do your research on the school beforehand by looking through their website, furthermore looking at the LinkedIn profiles of some of their current teachers is a smart move. By looking at people they have already decided to hire in the past, you can generate a good idea on the kind of people they are looking for. Whilst looking at current teachers LinkedIn profiles, be sure to update your own LinkedIn profile as well as social media accounts to ensure you are portraying the right image you want to give.

hiring trends

Showing Initiative

International schools like their teachers to show initiative and a willingness to take on responsibility. Be sure to show examples of this in your resume, for example if you have been involved in any coaching or extra-curricular activities. Linked back to point number one in this article, showing initiative by taking courses in a curriculum is great and highlights how serious you are about teaching in an international school, and about how you want to improve as a teacher.

hiring trends

Flexibility

Being flexible with certain requirements will improve chances of landing a position at an International school. For example, a level of flexibility with the school’s location can help, as International schools in certain cities and countries find it harder to attract teachers than in other areas. Another area which can help to be flexible on, if you are capable and comfortable on doing so, is the subject that you will teach. Some schools may find themselves in the situation where a candidate who can teach a couple of subjects in a hybrid role is exactly what they are looking for.

hiring trends

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This article was submitted by guest author Teaching Nomad. They are an American owned and operated education recruitment company based in Shanghai, China. Their goal and purpose is to help great teachers find great teaching jobs. Year round, they have hundreds of teaching job vacancies. Whether your goal is to be an ESL teacher or teach in an international school, they have a teaching job for you. You can browse jobs online here for the latest job openings. Teaching Nomad makes finding a job teaching in China easier, so please feel free to reach out and contact them with any questions or inquiries!

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Top 10 Lists

8 Helpful Reminders on How to Find Success at an International School Recruitment Fair

December 9, 2016


If you are job-searching this school year, then going to a recruitment fair is definitely on your mind. To keep your mind set on the right path both before and during the fairs, here are 8 helpful reminders on how to find success at an international school recruitment fair:

recruitment fair

1. Keep an open mind – when attending the Fair you will be meeting many different schools at once. Whilst it’s always helpful to have an idea of what you are seeking, it also doesn’t hurt to remain open-minded to options you hadn’t previously considered.

2. Go to the PD Workshops – the feedback we have received from past attendees has been that the PD workshops are well worth attending. It’s a great opportunity to understand better the curriculum, culture and expectations of your potential new school and to connect with other teachers.

3. Get involved – it’s also your chance to shine! You can make sure you get noticed and stand out from the crowd by actively participating in the workshops. It helps to demonstrate your teaching skills.

recruitment fair

4. Prepare some key questions – before the interview stage you will get your chance to meet and greet with various schools and make an initial introduction. You don’t necessarily always have the luxury of time at the Fairs so make sure you have done your research and go ready to maximize your allotted slot.

5. Network – there should be time to mingle and get to know the other teachers, sponsors and schools. The day needs to be broken up a bit from just interview after interview and it helps to make connections in a slightly more relaxed setting sometimes.

6. Shop Around – it makes sense to talk to as many schools as possible to get a good idea of what’s available.

recruitment fair

7. Be Yourself – Give the schools a chance to see who you really are. Honesty is after all, the best policy. You are far more likely to end up in the right school environment and in a positive new role where you can flourish if transparency is respected and championed from the start.

8. Relax – and smile! The Fairs are quite intensive in terms of the amount of interviewing that can take place over those 3 days. A smile can go a long way in contributing to a pleasant Fair environment for everyone.

To learn more about what to expect from the Fairs environment, check out these past attendee experiences.

recruitment fairThis article was submitted to us by Explore CRS.

The team at Explore CRS facilitates a number of different programs to help applicants find teaching opportunities in wider Asia. In addition to posting current vacancies and providing consultation services, they also organize recruitment fairs that match candidates with recruiters actively looking for talent for their schools. Applicants will be interviewed on-site, and at last year’s fair over two-thirds of all attending candidates were offered positions. An added benefit of attending the Fairs is an opportunity to take part in our Professional Development workshops, after which all attendees can receive certification.

They have two upcoming recruitment fairs in Abu Dhabi and Shanghai that you may want to check out if you have considered teaching abroad. The dates are as follows:

Shanghai
January 13th – 15th, 2017

Abu Dhabi
January 19th – 21st, 2017

You can learn more about their recruitment fairs here and see what Explore CRS can offer you in your education or recruitment pursuits.

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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?

interview

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

interview

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

interview

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: 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.

journey to Xian Hi-Tech International School

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.

journey to Xian Hi-Tech International School

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.

journey to Xian Hi-Tech International School

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.

journey to Xian Hi-Tech International School

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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Surveys

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

May 11, 2016


A new survey has arrived!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Here are a few sample comments from this comment topic:

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

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

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

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

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Top 10 Lists

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

April 24, 2016


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

“The school has a health and wellness program where a lot of teachers connect and exercise together. Also, the PTO regularly hosts cocktail events after school. Plus there are scheduled tours and cultural events.”

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

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

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

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

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

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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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Surveys

When looking for reviews and comments about an international school, which topic is the most important for you?

November 20, 2015


A new survey has arrived!

Topic:  When looking for reviews and comments about an international school, which topic is the most important for you?

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Right now our members are looking for as much information as they can. The more information the better.  Luckily, we just celebrated getting over 15000 comments! So International School Community is definitely the website to go to when looking to gather information about different international schools from around the world.

Even though we have over 65 separate comment topics on each school profile page, you might say that these six topics are some of the most important to know about.

Current statistics about these rather important comment topics on our website (taken from 20 November 2015):

Salary – 811 Total Comments
Retirement Plan Details – 367 Total Comments
Housing Benefits – 805 Total Comments
Teaching Contract Details – 36 Total Comments
Hiring Policy – 949 Total Comments
Savings Potential – 385 Total Comments

Of course all comments and reviews related to these comment topics are important. Recruiting international schools teachers need to know this information, detailed information, about these topics before they sign a contract.

But, which topic is the most important to you?  Please take a moment and submit your vote!

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We actually have two blog categories related this to survey question.

One blog category is called Hiring Policies at Int’l Schools.
Here are a few of the entries in this section:

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

• Comments and information about hiring policies on International School Community #8: Benjamin Franklin Int’l School, American Cooperative School of Tunis & Green School Bali – Read Here.

• Comments and information about hiring policies on International School Community #7: Int’l School of KL, Escola Internacional de Alphaville & Guangdong Country Garden School – Read Here.

The other category is called “Salaries at Int’l Schools.”
Here are a few of the entries in this section:

• Comments and information about salaries on ISCommunity #7: Blue Valley School, Ivy Collegiate Academy & Wellspring Int’l School (Hanoi) – Read Here.

• Comments and information about salaries on ISCommunity #6: Khartoum Int’l Community School, Int’l School of KL & Vietnam American Int’l School – Read Here.

• Comments and information about salaries on ISCommunity #5: Hong Kong Int’l School, Shanghai Community Int’l School & Guamani Private School – Read Here.

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The Journey to School

The Journey to School: Western International School of Shanghai

October 7, 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 Western International School of Shanghai (China), described his way to work there as follows:

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Shanghai, the East’s equivalent of New York. The city runs 24/7, nightlife is rampant, traffic induces headaches, and glamour seems to be always in the spotlight. That is usually the thrill behind the city’s most vibrant areas such as the French Concession and the Bund. All of which is exciting to your common expat. That of course is if you are an expat living around these areas.

Most international schools in Shanghai exist around the peripheral suburbs of the city and for many new teachers entering the school they are given an interesting choice. One can either live near the school in bang-for-your-buck valued houses usually in areas with relatively limited entertainment or live in the downtown where the action is. As you probably can insinuate on your own, it is usually the young single people who trade-off for the longer commute and smaller apartments in order to have a larger selection of nearby restaurants, bars, and social gatherings.

I on the other hand belong to the group that lives in compounds near the school I work at, Western International School of Shanghai. Now this area is not as boring as I may have indicated as it has become a bit of a development zone for the never-ending expansion of Shanghai. Part of the reason being that the area we are in, Qingpu, is the location of several of the well-known international schools in Shanghai, and developers are aiming at them as their audience. In the last 2 years I have seen a great Italian restaurant open up down the street, a whole new nightlife commercial area has come about by Jinfeng Road, and a few imported grocery stores have popped up. We might not have the adrenaline of downtown, but at least we are being well fed!

From my home the school is less than a 10-minute bus ride (or in my case a 10-minute e-bike ride) away. Having two school-aged children, this location is a solid choice for housing, given its lower monthly rent (compared to apartments downtown), spacious and safe environment where kids can play with their friends without constant supervision, and most importantly the ability to wake up later on schoolday mornings. A perk that I don’t take for granted and often poke fun at one of my young colleagues in the math department about.

My school day usually starts off with a 5am wake-up, which at times means a quick morning bike ride to get the blood flowing and other times it gives the opportunity to check e-mails and get some quiet time before the start of another busy day.

At about 6:30, which is the same time most of my downtown colleagues start walking out of their apartments toward their bus pick-up points, I wake up the kiddos, throw them in the shower and take a shower myself. Cereal for the kids, bacon & eggs for daddy and walk outside at about 7:40. If weather permits we hop on the e-bike and off to school we go.

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On the way to school we pass by the well-known “corner store”, the one right outside the compound gates. After a quick right turn the scooter takes is into the already buzzing Ming Zhu road. On weekdays the traffic is usually busy, drivers tend to ignore most traffic rules, e-bikes go in all sorts of direction without much concern for red lights or other vehicles. It sometimes feels like a game of chicken while driving. Experience has taught me that it is best to adopt the local culture and go with the flow.

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Within the first kilometer we pass by a building that houses the strange combination of a dodgy KTV on its second floor with a wet market on its first floor. The road nearby this building gets extremely busy resulting in traffic jams almost daily, thanks to cars making illegal U-turns without signaling or other scooters pulling a left or right without looking in their rearview mirrors. Sometimes I question myself on whether it was the safest idea to get my own scooter. But at least the ride to work gets my blood pumping enough where I consider skipping my morning coffee.

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Beyond this madness, the road gets a bit less congested. Crossing the Huqingping highway can also be intimidating to many but the traffic light is mostly followed there. In this area there are several newly opened compounds with real estate agents already standing outside with their signs advertising apartments for rent or sale. I always find it curious just how desperate they are to sell leases. I wonder how many houses are actually occupied.

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Once we passed these compounds we see the friendly faces of the security guards greeting us at the main gate of the school. The entire journey from door to door takes less than 10 minutes for us living nearby the school, while others may spend as much as 50-60 minutes on the faculty bus coming to work day after day. Either way, we all end up at the school we love, doing the work we enjoy!

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This Journey to School article was submitted to us by guest author and International School Community member: Denes Tilistyak. Check our his HighFour competition website here.

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

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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The Journey to School

The Journey to School: Dulwich College Suzhou (Suzhou, China)

May 25, 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 Dulwich College Suzhou (Suzhou, China), described her way to work there as follows:

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One of the first things most of us did when we got up in the morning and opened the curtains was to check out how bad the fog of air pollution was. If I couldn’t see the lake past the tower blocks of my compound it was pretty usual, if I couldn’t see the apartments opposite me I knew it was really bad and people would be wearing masks to catch the coach. When I checked the AQI index on my phone, and if it was above 250 pmi, then I knew we wouldn’t be letting the children outside at the breaks or lunch-time. Thankfully the school has installed air purifiers in all classrooms though.

I lived on the 18th floor of a 30-story tower block and sometimes it would take a while for one of the two elevators to reach me. It was a pretty walk through the gardens surrounding the towers, I enjoyed watching people walking backwards to exercise and beating their arms to increase their circulation. After a cheery ‘Ni Hao’ to the security guards, I would join my colleagues waiting for the bus. Dulwich spread its staff out amongst approximately ten compounds with no more than two to a tower and no-one on the same floor as you, for privacy. It was always good to chat and pass the time in the morning. Soon the big red maroon coach would pull up and once again there would be a chorus of ‘Good Mornings’ as we climbed on board. There were four coaches assigned to pick up staff from various areas of Suzhou.

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The temperature on the bus never seemed right, either it would be much too warm with the heating on and the windows steamed up with condensation or we’d be cold. Suzhou, inland from Shanghai is definitely in an area with four seasons. I would amuse myself admiring the canals beside the roads with weeping willows and flowering shrubs and sometimes the odd boat. Within twenty minutes or so we’d be pulling up at the Senior School, then it was in through the gates with more ‘Ni Haos’ and sometimes a salute from the guards (depending on who you were with) and I’d look up at the iconic Dulwich tower as I stepped into the foyer and went over to the Coffee Bar to get my morning café latte.

The coaches only had one pick-up time at the compounds and if you missed it (which I often did) you had to hail a taxi. The school provided us with taxi cards for most places in Suzhou, including the school, in Mandarin, so it was easy to direct the taxi-driver who often didn’t speak English, 25 RMB and twenty minutes later I’d be at school exiting the cab saying ‘Xie xie’.

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I soon tired of missing the bus and paying for taxis and bought myself an electric bike. This is when the journey to school became fun! I’d go down into the parking garage below my apartment building and unplug the charger. After putting my helmet on I’d steer it up the narrow slope to the compound roads. Then climb on and off I went. My bright blue ebike reached a top speed of about 42 mph and I felt safe on it because in SIP, where I lived, there were separate bike lanes. It was when I zipped along on the ebike that I really discovered Suzhou. I found I left earlier in the morning on the ebike and I enjoyed steering round the water trucks cleaning the roads, or the people sweeping up. Often as I passed a shopping mall there would be a large group of people doing Tai Chi in beautiful silk clothes, or a group of women doing a fan dance. One morning I stopped to watch a man leaping and spinning with a silver sword. The Chinese schools started earlier than we did and I would enjoy watching the whole student body line up in disciplined military rows as the Chinese flag was raised and the national anthem was played. I didn’t enjoy seeing the conditions the migrant workers lived in when I passed the large compounds of blue and white two-storey buildings where they lived, because then I would see garbage, dirty children and stray dogs which I always felt sorry for.

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Soon though I would pulling in to the industrial park where the school is situated, and after passing through the electric gate controlled by the security guard I’d be parking my ebike in the underground garage and charging it up ready for the journey home. Another day at Dulwich College Suzhou had begun.

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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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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School Profile Searches

Using the School Profile Search feature #15: Check out which schools met the criteria!

January 28, 2015


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 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 1773 schools (updated from 1606 on 20 February 2014) for the perfect school using up to 9 different criteria.  The 9 criteria are: Region of the world, Country, City, Curriculum, School Nature, Number of Students, Age of School, Kinds of Students and Metro Population.  You can do a school profile search in two different locations on our website: the Schools List page and on the side of every school profile page. Check out our past school profile search results here.

Search Result #15

Criteria selected:

  1. Region of the world (East Asia)
  2. Country (All)
  3. City (All)
  4. Curriculum (UK)
  5. School Nature (All)
  6. No. of students (All)
  7. Year founded (All)
  8. Kinds of student (Mostly Local)
  9. Metro Population (All)

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Schools Found: 15

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The 15 international schools that met the criteria were found in 4 countries. Here are a few that have had comments and information submitted on them:

• Harbin No. 9 High School International Division (Songbei Campus) (Harbin, China) – 45 Comments
• Shanghai Rego International School (Shanghai, China) – 74 Comments
• Orchlon School (Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia) – 68 Comments
• International School of Koje (Geoje, South Korea) – 48 Comments
• North London Collegiate School (Jeju) (Jeju-do, South Korea) – 19 Comments

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 12936 comments and information (updated from 10304 on 20 February 2014) that have been submitted on 812 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 2-day trail of premium membership coupon code sent to you in your welcome email after joining.

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Highlighted Articles

A New Kind of Recruitment Fair for International Schools in Asia

November 12, 2014


The internet and Skype may have transformed the recruitment process in recent years, but technology has yet to come up with a satisfactory replacement for a face-to-face meeting. Recruitment fairs therefore remain key events on the calendar and with tens of thousands of international educators across the Asia region looking for new positions each year, fairs held in Shanghai and Abu Dhabi are convenient locations for a wide variety of schools and candidates.

Job-Fair-Woman-Interview-Career-NetworkThis is the third year that CRS Education has run their recruitment fair events and they have received extremely positive feedback from both recruiting schools and job seekers. This year they are running their fair in Shanghai from January 16th to the 18th and the Abu Dhabi event from the 22nd to the 24th, and will host over 50 individual international schools and school groups from throughout East, Southeast Asia and the Middle East.

A key differentiator to other recruitment events is that PD workshops are scheduled into the event framework. Delivered by recruiting schools in 1 ½ hour sessions, they allow candidates attending to spend time with school leaders outside of an interview, gain an understanding of the educational thinking in a prospective school, network with other attendees and, of course, learn something new! CRS firmly advocates that consideration of professional and personal growth opportunities are key factors for candidates to take into account through their job search process.

The international school community across the Asia region has grown enormously over the past decade, although it remains a community and any connections made can bear fruit in both the short and long term. The fairs regional emphasis will allow interested candidates to focus their job searches, and with the huge number of international schools and educators now based Asia, an event that allows greater movement between East / SE Asia and the Middle East will provide welcome support for some of the thousands of teachers in Asia looking to relocate in 2015.

CPSCRS Education is based in Shanghai and will run their events at the Hongqiao Hilton on January 16th – 18th, and the Yas Island Rotana in Abu Dhabi on the 22nd to the 24th. For more information please contact info@crs-edu.com.

Written by: Vanessa Cumbers
Submitted by: CRS Education

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How NOT to Save Money

How NOT to save money when working as an international school teacher #4: Stupidly buy things impulsively

September 3, 2014


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

How NOT to save money when working as an international school teacher #4 – Stupidly buy things impulsively

IMG_6824When you move somewhere, you typically don’t know where to buy anything.  You usually need help, and fast!  But that help isn’t always there for you at every moment and you inevitably find yourself out and about, all alone in your new city, making stupid purchases.

Let’s face it, you are basically a tourist when you first arrive at your new placement, and even the smartest tourist (most veteran international school teacher) can make mistakes. When you go out shopping for the first few times, you don’t know exactly what things should cost. You also don’t know exactly what is available in the whole city/area either.

Let’s say that you found some cranberries (not many countries have these readily available to buy in stores) and get super excited.  You think, yes I’ll buy this, I deserve it! You also may think that you will not be able to find them again.  We all know that scenario; the store has a product one week and not (or never again) the next!

You also many think in your head that the cranberries might be costing a crazy high price. However, it is sometimes hard to know because you may not completely understand how much money you are actually spending. In the first few months, you are not so familiar with the new currency that you are now dealing with just yet.  If that is the case, you typically decide to make this impulsive purchase.

Maybe you buy the cranberries because you think that no other store will have them for sale (even though there might be one right next to your school for IMG_0362example). Maybe you made a special trip to an inconvenient location in the city that day, a place that you wouldn’t normally be going to on a weekly basis, and that is the reason you make the purchase.  All of these scenarios add up to you potentially buying something that could be found cheaper somewhere else and maybe even at a place closer to your house (saving you even more money).

During the first few months, international school teachers find themselves spending money on things that can be found cheaper in another place/store. Your goal of saving some money is then put on hold, at least during this time of adjusting to your new city.

You can try and do your research to not let this happen to you; ask around, check out the expat websites for your city, etc.  Doing this before you go out shopping can help you stop making these impulse purchases at stores you don’t know so well.

Another way to not stupidly buy things: always go out shopping with a local (they know the best stores and they know the local language as well) or with another international school teacher that has been there a few years already.IMG_3905

Going shopping in another country can be quite exciting. So many new stores and new products that might very much interest you.  Just make sure to do your research as must and you can to stay the wiser, and you will not be wasting so much of your hard-earned money during the first few months!

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To save you some money, we do have a comment topic on our website related to this theme.  It is in the benefits section of the comments and information tab on the school profile pages. It is called: Places, markets and stores where you can find really good deals.

Carrefour has quite a decent selection of imported products. There are also Metro supermarkets around although quite far from WISS. Smaller grocery stores also have good deals from time to time (nearest on Jinfeng lu). For quality meats and other products it’s also possible to shop online and have groceries delivered.” – Western International School of Shanghai (Shanghai, China) – 93 Comments

There are different areas of the city where sales items tend to concentrate, so ask a local. E-mart is the dominant local discount chain (a cross between Target and K-mart), with reliably low prices. Costco has several branches in Korea–reportedly they recognize US Costco cards.” – Yongsan International School of Seoul (Seoul, South Korea) – 39 Comments

There is a flea market that is on Sundays and Wednesdays, Jakuševac. It is like a bazaar selling everything and you can bargain for the right price. You never know what you will find there, but you will also find something.” – American International School of Zagreb (Zagreb, Croatia) – 29 Comments

In my experience, the best deals have not been deals at all because the quality is questionable. You get what you pay for in Asuncion. The better quality things are almost always more expensive. If something is too cheap, think twice!” – American School of Asuncion (Asuncion, Paraguay) – 58 Comments

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New Teacher Orientation Must-Haves

New Teacher Orientation Must-Haves at International Schools: Learning how to get reimbursed and meeting the business office staff

August 23, 2014


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 the 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 all about the ones that we have discussed so far.

Must-have #13: Learning how to get reimbursed and meeting the business office staff

dsc2574 It takes so much money to move yourself from one place to another.  Now add in the fact that you are shipping boxes and whatnot half way across the world, and the cost just gets higher and higher. Many times, international school teachers need to pay for these shipping costs upfront.  Hopefully you are getting an relocation allowance (not all international school offer this though) as there are also many other things that you will need to pay for upfront (e.g. the flight, extra baggage, visa costs, etc.).  It is a tough time financially, that’s for sure.

When you finally get to your new school in your new country, you almost want to make a beeline to the business office to immediately get some of your money back!  It is not that easy though at a number of international schools. Helping new teachers get reimbursed should be as easy as pie, but at For-profit schools (for example), it can take a loooong time and much paperwork to get your money back.

There are two ways to get reimbursed at an international school: the easy way and the hard way.

The easy way of course is the preferred way.  You go in, hand in a receipt/reimbursement form, and then you either get paid right there in the local currency (e.g. cash) or they make a bank transfer that is made to your local bank account and you either receive that money that same day or the next day.   You might say that the goal of all international schools should be to make sure that getting money back to its teachers is as easy and as quick as possible.

To also make things easy, the dream would be that somebody would take you to the business office and introduce you to all the 75913596_8c93673710_zimportant people in the business office, all within the first week at work. Word of advice: go in with a huge smile on your face and your hand extended out to shake everyone’s hand, also remember to say many thank yous and make some friendly conversation to get to know the staff more personally.  Because every month or so, of your first (and second, third, etc.) year, you will be walking into that business office wanting some money or some assistance with a number of financial issues, and you will need to have a good relationship with these guys. So make sure that somebody is there during your orientation to get you started on the right foot with the business staff.

The hard way to get reimbursed is every international school teacher’s worst nightmare.  You don’t want to be worrying about getting money back from your new international school (or even worrying about getting your salary paid on time!).  It is stressful that’s for sure.  Also, it can distract you from doing your job at times. In some countries though, it is not the school’s fault that makes getting reimbursed a difficult task.  The country itself can have certain laws and regulations that make the reimbursement process a difficult one for expats. It can be very confusing to some new teachers, so how nice if there is straight-away somebody that will “show you the ropes” during new teacher orientation.

The business staff play a huge part in the wellbeing and staff morale of an international school. Knowing the business staffs’ names and getting introduced to them as soon as you start working there can really have a positive effect to your experience starting at your new school. Also, make sure to take a few notes during your orientation week/days about how to get reimbursed for things the correct way at your school.

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Luckily on International School Community we have a new comment topic that specifically addresses this issue of getting reimbursed.  It is called: What is the process of getting reimbursed for things?

We have 2 comments so far in this topic on our website since it is so new:

American International School of Lusaka –
“Pretty basic. Show receipts, get paid. Flights can be a bit of a hassle in terms of dealing with the business office and its interpretation of “cheapest, most direct.”

Western International School of Shanghai –
“All receipts must be kept and submitted with a filled out form to the director who then signs and returns them to the finance office. From the day of leaving the forms at the director’s office it might take 4-6 weeks to see any money back.”

If you currently work at an international school or have worked at one in the recent past, share the information and details about getting things reimbursed. You can find easy access to all international schools on our Schools List page.

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So, does your international school have an easy, confusing, or difficult way of getting reimbursed for things?  Please share your experiences!

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Blogs of International Teachers

Blogs for international school teachers: “Cliff Jumping: Risk-taking and New Beginnings” (From a retired international educator)

June 3, 2014


Our 37th blog that we would like to highlight is called “Cliff Jumping: Risk-taking and New Beginnings”  Check out the blog entries of this retired international school teacher that currently is back living in her home country (United States).

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A few entries that we would like to highlight:

Cracked

“I’ve slowly dealt with the red tape of health insurance, car purchase, phone decisions, computer, internet, cable, condo painting/remodel/furnishing, and getting my household shipment through the delays of NY homeland security exams, Mpls. customs, and condo association regulations. Each step has been fraught with exasperation.  Why am I so thin-skinned, so impatient? How could I deal with daily power rationing, hideous traffic, and oppressive heat in India, and not be able to accept the processes I must go through here more easily? I feel as though I’ve been in a time warp for 40 years, and I don’t know how to do things in this new age. I’ve lost my confidence…”

Are you a veteran international school teacher thinking about retiring soon?  We have a very popular article on our blog that discusses this issue.  An International School Community member shares her experiences about working for 30+ years in international schools and what her plan is for her retirement.   It is called ‘Where do international teachers go when they retire and what do they do?‘. Check it out here.

We also have a few other articles on our blog related to this topic of going back to your home country and feeling a bit of reverse culture shock:
Culture Shock and Misplaced Normal (An int’l school teacher’s experience in Tanzania)
Going home for the holidays: No one cares about your international life
The summer vacation dilemma: To go home or to not go home…that is the question!

Elegy to my Beloved…Profession

“I have had the privilege of enjoying a 40-year career in the most exciting and satisfying field there could be: international education. It’s a vocation that young and old should consider, whether at the beginning of their working years, midway through as a ‘reset’, or after retirement. If you’re already a teacher and you’re bored, worried about getting ahead financially, tired of overcrowded classrooms, or wanting to see the world, this is for you. Take a leave of absence or sabbatical, or attend a recruiting fair, and take a job at an overseas school with an American or western curriculum. You’ll earn more money, experience more adventures, and probably never look back. If you’re young and unsure of your direction, love working with kids, feel curious about other cultures, and want to make a difference, this is also for you. And if you’ve already got a pension, going overseas could be icing on the cake. Or if you can’t find a job– get your teaching certification, and head on out…”

If you don’t already have a pension and want to know more about what pension plans are like at other international schools, take a moment to check out one of our 40 comment topics on the school profile pages in the Benefits Information section.  It is called: Pension plan details.  Right now there are 320 comments in this comment topic. Here are just a few:

“No pension plan, hopefully the school will address this issue in the future. (Although the school gives a bonus of one monthly pay for every year served at the school after 3 years and this may be considered retirement, but technically it isn’t.)” – Western International School of Shanghai (Shanghai, China) – 54 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

“There is a pension plan that is in accordance to the labor law. For every year you work you are to receive 12 days pay. After your 6th year you will get 24 days pay. (roughly 2 weeks pay for the first 5 years and a month for every year after 5). Now for clarification: Your pension (called indemnity) is to be paid at the end of service at your highest pay, according to the labor law. However, the school does not follow this and will pay it to you yearly when you return in September. This seems like a good plan until you realize after 5 years how much money you lose out on.” – American Creativity Academy (Hawalli, Kuwait) – 31 Comments

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

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Recently Updated School Profiles

Recently Updated School Profiles #22: British Int’l School Shanghai – Pudong, Greenfield Community School (Dubai) & Carlucci American Int’l School of Lisbon

April 24, 2014


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Members of International School Community have written some new and informative comments on the following schools:

21 Apr    Greenfield Community School (Dubai) (15 new comments)
Dubai, United Arab Emirates:

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One of the new comments in the School Information section: “86 nationalities are enrolled at the school. It has been recognized for the support it gives students with EAL…”

19 Apr    British International School Shanghai – Pudong (12 new comments)
Shanghai, China:

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One of the new comments in the School Information section: “Teachers are housed near the school for the first year. They can choose to stay after this year or move with an accommodation allowance…”

16 Apr    Carlucci American International School of Lisbon (9 new comments)
Lisbon, Portugal:

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One of the new comments in the Travel Information section: “A lot of locals know English here, but there are definitely store workers and owners that don’t know hardly one word! It is good to know Portuguese here…”

Check out the rest of the last 40 international school profile pages that have been recently updated on International School Community here.

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Blogs of International Teachers

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

April 12, 2014


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

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A few entries that we would like to highlight:

5 Tips for Teachers Abroad

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

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

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

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

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

12 Reasons to Teach Abroad in China and Taiwan

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

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

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

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

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

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How NOT to Save Money

How NOT to save money when working as an international school teacher #2: Go out to eat all the time!

March 16, 2014


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

How NOT to save money when working as an international school teacher #2 – Go out to eat all the time!

IMAG0333 When you are on a trip, it is easy to spend lots of money going out to eat. I mean most likely you are staying at a hotel or in a room at some hostel and not able to cook a dinner for yourself there.  So you can justify going to a restaurant for both lunch and dinner when traveling.  It is a luxury, that’s for sure, because you wouldn’t normally being going out to eat for lunch and dinner where you are living.  Not unless you are an international school teacher though!

In some locations in the world, you can indeed justify going out to eat for most meals during the week.  I mean it could be that you are living somewhere where the food is really ‘cheap’.  Even if you are making a lot of money (and have your housing, etc. all paid for), it is always nice to get a bargain for your meal and you would be a fool to not take advantage of this supposedly cheap and good-tasting food while you are living in your host country.

You could also justify going out to eat a lot in your currently location because going out to eat is more convenient than going somewhere to buy groceries, and then going back to your home to cook them (for maybe 1-2 hours let’s say…maybe you are short on time as well).

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Some international schools in Shanghai have deals with nearby restaurants which allows for easy ordering if you want to buy a lunch from them.  It is a nice perk if your school is waaaaay out in the suburbs somewhere.  And because it is cheap, why not go for it?

But even in these types of locations where many international school teachers eat out a lot, it can start to get a bit excessive.  All your pocket-money might start to dwindle away.  Additionally, in locations where there is cheap food and you are also making a nice salary, there are also going to be more expensive places to choose to eat at as well.  It is nice to live it up and take advantage of the expat life in most cities in the world, but there is a price to pay for that kind of lifestyle and you must be mindful of the amount of money you are actually spending!  At some of these ‘expat-priced’ restaurants you pay a premium to get the style of food that expats like.  Problem is that you most likely would NOT pay the same price for that same food in your home counties.  A ‘you deserve it’ attitude comes into play and your wallet pays the cost.

IMAG0117Now to the locations where it is ridiculously expensive to eat out, let’s say Norway.  What is an international school teacher to do then?  Going out to a restaurant in these expensive cities will really take a toll on our bank account.  Some people though still choose to do it.  I think it is related to the idea that they are still ‘traveling’ in their host country.  Like I said before, when you are traveling, you go out to eat all the time.  Not all teachers do it in these expensive cities, but some do and it can get out of control real quick.  Gotta be careful so that you are saving some money as well.

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To save you some money, we do have a comment topic on our website related to this theme.  It is in the city section of the comments and information tab on the school profile pages. It is called: Name your favorite restaurants, favorite places to go to and favorite things to do in the city.

‘Spanish Stairs is the great place to hang out. It has many nice shops, restaurants and a beautiful view, especially in the sunset. For restaurants, I recommend Pastaritto-Pizzaritto in Via Quattro Novembre. Prices are decent and the food is delicious.’ – Marymount International School (Rome) (Rome, Italy) – 7 Comments

‘I like “Witwe Polte”. It’s a small restaurant in the 7th district. It’s called the Spittelberg area, where you can also find a beautiful Christmas market in winter.’ – AMADEUS International School Vienna (Vienna, Austria) – 13 Comments

‘There are some great places to eat near and in the main market, Mahane Yehuda. There are always people around there and it is very lively. Though it can be a bit touristy, there are also a lot of locals that are here as well.’ – Jerusalem American International School (Jerusalem, Israel) – 8 Comments

‘It is a bit touristy, but there are many restaurants around the Dam tram stop. Just a short 5-7 minute walk in many directions you can find some cozy restaurants to eat at. There are Christmas markets already set up right now, it is nice to walk around during the evening.’ – International School Amsterdam (Amsterdam, Netherlands) – 26 Comments

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Traveling Around

Traveling Around: New York, United States (The life of an international school teacher is good!)

August 25, 2013


Traveling Around: New York, United States

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Can you relate?

• Being amazing on how there were not just one but multiple restaurants to choose from for all the different cuisines of the world.
• Checking out the China Town area and couldn’t believe how it really seems like we were in China (after having working at an international school in Shanghai for some time).
• Loving the new area to chill out next the Staten Island Ferry terminal, great views and not too crowded.
• Going to look at the new 9-11 memorial, long line to wait in…but the two water fountains were pretty spectacular.
• Buying too many things at all the unique cafes and stores, couldn’t resist wanting to try things not available in my host country.
• Traveling to this awesome city to see three of my friends from two of the countries that I have lived in, who now live in New York.
• Using the New York Subway system to get around and trying to act like I knew my way around it like a local (a bit of a fail).
• Thinking I saw Michael Cera near China Town, took a picture of him, and then hearing what my friends thought on Facebook…if it was really him (some thought so, some no).
• Trying to keep my head down while walk around in the city…couldn’t stop looking up at all the cool skyscrapers.
• Taking a stroll through 1/3 of Central Park and watching all the exercisers, relaxers, etc…the nature in that park is really wonderful.
• Looking at the Statue of Liberty from the Staten Island Ferry…the second time that I’ve done that!
• Purchasing a Groupon for a grocery store there and getting $40 for only $20…stocked up on some supplies for when I go back home.
• Getting to see the Manhattan skyline both in the morning, afternoon, sunset and night…thanks to my friend for letting me stay at his awesome Brooklyn apartment.
• Enjoying my fair share of bagels…toasted with a bit of honey…for my breakfast.
• Going to see a concert at a old jazz/blues club just right off of Times Square…what a location!
• Thanking my friend for letting me use their Museum of Modern Art membership pass. Probably wouldn’t have gone if I would have had to pay.
• Taking pictures of all the New Yorkers doing their thing as they walk down all the streets…there are some very interesting people walking around New York!
• Walking to Bryant Park at night at having a cool drink with a friend for some catching up.
• Going into Grand Central Station and thinking about all the movies that have been filmed there.

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Currently we have 4 international schools listed in New York on International School Community:

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 6 free months of premium membership!

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12 Tips for Selecting an Int'l School

Selecting an international school: Tip #11 – Does the school provide or have access to qualified teachers who cater to students with special needs?

July 20, 2013


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

Tip #11 – Does the school provide or have access to qualified teachers who cater to students with special needs? Fortunately, the options for adequate support and positive learning environments are increasing.

parent-teacher-meeting-sp-needsAs parents and educators consider international living, school websites can answer many general questions.  However, some parents have specific questions for the needs of their children.  Likewise, teachers and administrators who seek international employment also want to know what services are available at schools and how their skills align with the school’s programs and services.

A growing concern in schools is the question of addressing the special needs of students.  Today that question can have a broad spectrum—- physical, academic, emotional, medical, and psychological.  Schools today have had to expand their programs and providers in order to adequately serve all children.  Internationally, does this protocol of serving all students present similar challenges and are different parts of the world answering the challenge the same or differently?

For the purpose of sharing an international snapshot of this question, I invited various international educators to respond to this topic.  The results of my limited inquiry provided some common results: 1) the need for schools to provide for special needs students is prevalent; 2) many countries have a legal mandate of how this will be done; 3) what is written is difficult to attain; 4) there is a scarcity of special needs teachers; 5) some areas can better address the issues than others due to monetary resources and location.

So, where does that leave a family who is searching for an appropriate place for their special needs child?  The answer I believe is that the parent will have to be the advocate for their child and do in-depth questioning, examining websites, visiting schools, and connecting with the right people.

In England, it is required that all schools (public and state) have a SENCO (Special Needs Coordinator) who is a teacher responsible for pupils with SEN needs and for ensuring that their needs are being met.  Also all inspection reports must comment on the effectiveness of SEND and provision for English as Additional Language students and how the school is meeting those needs. overview_osx

Responses I received from India varied depending on location.  While Boards talk about serving these students, the reality is colored by 1) the scarcity of special education teachers especially in small cities and 2) main stream teachers not being trained in serving special needs.  Part-time tutors are hired and shared when available.

From a different location in India, an international school educator indicated that there is generally a Head of Special Needs appointed in all schools as every child has a Right to Education as per the Government RTE Act.  Under this head, there can be a few junior teachers who are trained to handle children with Special Needs up to a certain level.  If the case is very severe and requires one-on-one care, there are special schools that have specially trained staff and facilities including lifts, special bathrooms to accommodate wheelchairs, etc.  In cases of autism, dyslexia, and attention deficit, those children are identified and served on a one-on-one basis with the Special Needs Department in concert with the Classroom Teacher, Subject Teachers, School Counselor, Parents, and student peers.  These students are closely monitored for improvement, and many times when they attend regular classrooms, a special needs assistant is alongside the student to clarify the lesson and assure there is no interruption in the classroom.  This responder concluded by saying that in his area of India, the Special Needs Department works hard to ensure these children grow up as normal kids who can have a happy schooling experience.

A third international school educator from India added that there are some special schools in urban and rural areas, noting that training centers have recently appeared to train teachers for special needs schools.  Also he sees in-service training starting to be offered.  His summary statement on current conditions—-“There is a ray of hope: politicians, social activists, and educators are becoming more aware of the issues of special needs children and it is widely discussed and debated almost everywhere.”  From these discussions, “we can hope that all these moves will give a better platform for students with special needs in the coming days.”

Moving on to Shanghai where two international school educators shared their insight…..  One summarized that in his small school there is no special needs program and that he did not know of any mainstream international school in Shanghai that has a robust program.  However, that could be changing.  He then connected me to an amazing couple who shared their personal experience.  They are both educators in Shanghai and they were seeking an appropriate program for their son with profound autism.  When they struggled to find what they felt their son needed, Lori and Mike Boll last year started a small, inclusive school for all children called Shine Academy.  It serves 20+ students that range in age from 3-18.  Some have disabilities, some do not.  By forming this inclusive program, they saw it as a way to bring services to their son and the greater community.  See their story at www.shineacademy.asia.  For families seeking support and teachers who are building understanding of how to serve autistic children, the Bolls have additional resources at www.autismpodcast.org.  The Bolls are just one example of what one responder called the “general nature of international teachers—they just find a way.”

In conclusion, the special needs education picture is the same and different across the world.  With a spirit of justice, parents, educators, and communities can make a difference by working collaboratively to improve the accessibility of a quality education for all children.  In unity, the possibilities can become realities.

This article was submitted by guest author and International School Community member: Mary Anne Hipp (contact her here – mahipp@suddenlink.net or visit her Blogspot – http://mahipp.blogspot.com/)

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Have a specific international school in mind that you thinking of applying at? Check out our “Where our Members have worked” page and start contacting some of our members that know about the international school you are interested in knowing more about. Our 2700+ members currently work at (or have worked at in the past) 487 different international schools.  Feel free to send them a private message related to finding out more about their Special Needs programming at their international school.

Furthermore, 26 members have specifically stated on their member profile that they currently hold the position of Special Education Teacher.  Check out which positions our members hold here.

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Blogs of International Teachers

Blogs of international school teachers: “Life in Kunshan, China” (An international school PARENT at Kunshan International School)

April 30, 2013


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

Our 30th blog that we would like to highlight is called “Life in Kunshan, China”  It is not actually written by a teacher, but by a parent!  Check out the blog entries of this international school PARENT who currently sends their children to Kunshan American School in China.

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A few entries that we would like to highlight:

The Kunshan International School & Ikea Shanghai

“The school is quite large.  We were only able to see the kindergarten area today – a meeting with teaching staff and tour of the school will occur later in the month – but what we saw was impressive:  the kindergarten has a room with beds for naps, a separate and large room with great play equipment, a traditional teaching room and a separate reading room with about a dozen PCs for the kids to work on.

I was struck by the cost of the school:  only 12,500 RMB/semester for Logan and 10,000 for Jordan.  That works out to a little over $3,000/year for our two boys, a small fraction of what we’d have to pay to send the kids to school in Shanghai, and even less than we were paying in California for Jordan’s pre-school…”

It is interesting to get the international school parents’ perspective once and awhile.  I actually just witnessed a “tour” going on today at work with our school secretary showing around a new/prospective family.  I was out on break duty and was wondering what the parents were thinking as they watched all the students running around.  Were they impressed by the school’s playground and how the students were using it?  We should have the school secretary share more about what kind of feedback/statements she/he hears when giving a tour of our school.  It could prove to be quite intriguing to hear what prospective/new parents (and their children) are saying!

And then there is the cost of sending children to the international school in question.  Typically it can be very expensive for expat parents paying for themselves.  But we all know that many expat parents don’t typically pay for the tuition themselves, their company pays for them.  What a nice surpise then to find out the tuition at Kunshan International School is actually low when compared to other international schools in China.

On a side note, we also have an article on our blog about international school teachers’ dependence on IKEA when living abroad.  Check out the article here.

The Kunshan International School

“The teachers seem to take a deep interest in the kids.  About a week before the start of school, Jordan’s (who was going to start kindergarten) teacher came to our house to visit on a Saturday, speaking with Jordan and answering questions we had.  She was going to all the students’ homes, getting to know them and allow them to get comfortable with her (of course, this just doesn’t happen in the U.S.)…”

I have never heard of this happening!  How great that a teacher at this international school goes to each student’s house to answer questions that the student and family have!  Does any one know of any other international school that does this kind of orientation?

Want to work for an international school in China like this blogger sends their children to?  Currently, we have 142 international schools listed in China on International School Community. Here are a few that have had comments and information submitted on their profiles:

Beijing City International School (31 Comments)
Tsinghua International School (Beijing) (30 Comments)
Changsha WES Academy (12 Comments)
Guangdong Country Garden School (17 Comments)
American International School of Guangzhou (12 Comments)
Hangzhou International School (19 Comments)
Hong Kong International School (33 Comments)
• Access International Academy (Ningbo) (20 Comments)

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

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12 Tips for Selecting an Int'l School

Selecting an international school: Tip #8 – Are the teachers fully qualified?

February 23, 2013


What reasons do parents think about when selecting a school for their children when they move abroad? Are they similar reasons for why teachers choose to work at a school abroad as well?  There are many different kinds of international schools and they are all in different situations.  How important is finding out about if the international school’s teachers are fully qualified or not?  It could be beneficial to ask these types of questions at your interview, before you make any big decisions to move or choose a school at which to work.  So, how do you choose the right international school for your children to attend or for you to work at?  In this blog series, we will discuss the Tips for Selecting an International School.

Tip #8 – Are the teachers fully qualified?

This is not typically a concern with mainstream international schools, but it can be a concern with some newer schools and in certain regions of the world.

pic1104Some might say having qualified teachers from early years all the way to secondary school are essential for an international school to thrive.  Why then do some international schools hire non-certified teachers?  Of course there are many reasons why schools make such choices for their staff.

One reason is that qualified teachers are sometimes hard to come by in some (if not all) countries. Additionally, the more experienced teachers may not be considering positions at less established international schools.  In some parts of the world, the pay is low.  Being that certified teachers seek out positions that value their teaching degrees (that they have worked hard for), they might not even consider working at some schools where the pay and benefits are less than desirable.

Another factor that comes into play is timing.  Some international schools get into “binds” every once and awhile, and sometimes the best choice is to hire a less qualified (or not qualified) teacher to fill the position. That non-qualified teacher is just waiting and waiting for the right moment, when the stars align for them, to finally get that job at the nearby international school versus staying at the “language” school down the road.  Also, when international schools are trying to fill vacancies for the coming school year during not ideal times of the year (e.g. the summer months or even May), they might not have the same pick of qualified teachers as they would have had back in January and February.

Even another reason that international school hire non-qualified teachers could be related to money.  International schools (especially for-profit ones) are always on the look-out on how to save money. Hiring non-qualified teachers can potentially save the school money as they can sometimes pay them less.  If there is a pay scale at the school, they would most likely be on the bottom of it.Mr-Boli-and-Primary-186

Many educators without university teaching certificates are the ones that are already living abroad.  They maybe moved abroad when they got a job at an English-language school or had an interest in “teaching English” in a foreign country.  We are sure that there are some great English-language schools around the world, but most of the teachers at those schools would prefer to work at an international school; mainly because of the better pay and benefits.  More established international schools though won’t consider them because they might not have the exact teaching qualifications that they require. The less established international schools might consider these less-qualified teachers though, especially if they are scrounging to find quality candidates to fill their positions.

It is true that you can be a good teacher, even an excellent one, without a teaching certificate from a university. Experience in the field can definitely equal quality teaching, and parents and other qualified teachers shouldn’t be so turned off to working with them.  If you agree to that statement, maybe we shouldn’t be so caught up in whether an international school has an all-qualified staff.  We all work hard to do the same job, it isn’t as if qualified teachers would work any harder at the school.  On the other hand, it is important to honor the time spent when teachers do go an get diplomas in education.  Many people with university teaching certificates have worked very hard to make teaching their career choice and not just a “job”.  It can be a bit of an “unfortunate circumstance” and a downer when a qualified teacher shows up at their new international school to find out that their colleagues are all “English teachers”!
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On our website we have a specific topic in the School Information section of each school profile page that discusses the issue of which international schools have qualified teachers or not.  It is called “Describe what kinds of teachers work here (local vs. expat, nationality, qualifications [or lack there of], etc.) and staff turnover rate.”  Our members have submitted 100s of comments and information in this topic on a number of different international schools listed on our website.  Here are just a few of the comments and information submitted in this topic:

“About 65% North American, 20% European and 15% local and other. All teachers are certified and have at least 4 years’ experience…”
MEF International School Istanbul (27 total comments)

“The school has both Colombian and expat teachers. All of the expat teachers are North American and all are qualified teachers. The Colombian teachers are also well certified. There is not a high turnover rate at the school. Many expat teachers, though young, stay three or four years and some have been at the school much longer…”
Colegio Granadino Manizales (43 total comments)

“High Staff turnover. Probably 1/3 local hires vs. expats. The qualifications can be low. Many first year teachers with no teaching degree. Most expats are Americans and Canadians. People do not stay here because the taxes are high, the frustration level with the administration is high, and the level of academic rigor is low…”
American School Foundation of Mexico City (35 total comments)

“You will find a range of teachers from New Zealand to Canada, via UK, Egypt, Palestine, South Africa, Australia, France and more. Most teachers are expat hire. Local hire teachers are well qualified. The school is still only 7 years old so turnover rate is hard to reflect on. It ranges from 1-7 years at current time…”
Khartoum International Community School (37 total comments)

“Turn over rate last year was very low. This year is different with several teachers in the Secondary school being pushed out. The school pays on time and there are good benefits. Many teachers in the Secondary school do not have formal teaching qualifications but they have good subject knowledge…”
Western International School of Shanghai (57 total comments)

If you are an International School Community member with premium access, log on today and submit your own comments about the international schools you know about!

If you are not a member yet, make sure to join www.internationalschoolcommunity.com and automatically get one full month of premium access. You will become a part of our over 1950+ members!

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Surveys

Survey results are in: Which international school teacher conference do you prefer to go to?

January 19, 2013


The survey results are in, and it seems as if most visitors and members of International School Community who voted have had the most success at IB conferences.

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IB conferences/workshops can prove to be a very motivating and enlightening experience.  Isn’t that what going to conferences is all about?  Most people might say that teaching is viewed as a career, and with careers comes professionalism.  Many international school teachers aspire to be the best professionals in the field.  The IB (PYP and MYP too) teachers definitely have similar aspirations as well; to learn more and more about the new ways of thinking and teaching using inquiry.  They are also looking to learn more about how to make their students’ thinking visible.

But like many workshops that you may attend at international school teaching conferences, the benefit of the workshop you attend greatly depends on the instructor that you get.  It can also be said that the success of your workshop depends on the people that attend it as well.  So many different factors come into play, but when all of them line up correctly, you are most likely in for an enlightening experience.  Those types of workshops can really inspire you throughout the rest of the conference and stay with you when you return back to work.

In terms of staff development benefits, the IBO requires that the teachers working in approved/accredited schools get on going PD in the IB philosophy and latest strategies on how best to instruct students in their inquiry programme. Instead of using your own PD monies to attend IB workshops, very often the school will take the costs involved out of their own monies.

There are many factors to consider when deciding on which international school at which to work.  Knowing about the professional development allowance (or lack there of) can prove to be helpful information to know; just to see what you can expect in terms of you getting the opportunity to attend workshops and conferences while you work there.  Luckily on International School Community, we have a Benefits Information section in the comments and information part of each school’s profile page that discusses this very topic.

• Professional development allowance details.

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Taken from International Community School Addis Ababa (35 Total Comments) school profile page.

There have been many comments and information submitted in this topic on numerous school profiles on our website.

One International School Community member said about working at Mef Int’l School Istanbul: “IBO certified IBDP and PYP training provided. Outside speakers such as Virginia Rojas brought in to provide in house PD.”

Another member said about working at Western International School of Shanghai: “Most teachers don’t get any out of school PD their first year of contract. Depends on the needs of the school.”

Another member submitted a comment about working at American School of Barcelona: “The PD amount is 390 Euros a year. You can roll over this amount for 3 years. But the reality some people get more, it is not so clear cut on who gets what amount and who gets to go to what PD opportunity.”

If you are currently a member of International School Community, please take a moment to share what you know by submitting some comments and information about the PD allowances at your international school. You can start by logging on here.

Stay tuned for our next survey topic which is to come out in a few days time.

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12 Tips for Selecting an Int'l School

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

January 16, 2013


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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12 Tips for Selecting an Int'l School

Selecting an international school: Tip #6 – How well is the school linked to other international schools?

December 8, 2012


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

Tip #6 – How well is the school linked to other international schools?

phoca_thumb_l_IMG_9309 Not all international schools are well-linked to other international schools.  Some international schools tend to just do things on their own.  The teachers at those schools typically don’t have much contact with teachers at other international schools.  Sometimes even in a huge city like Shanghai, were there are quite a few international schools, there are smaller schools that just seem to be doing things by themselves and on their own with minimal contact with other schools in the area. The teachers there can become quite content to be on their own and find themselves forgetting that they could be doing more collaboration with other international schools in their city.

These ‘less-connected’ schools could very well be for-profit schools.  Some for-profit international schools have strict or no allowances for teachers to network or attend conferences and workshops for international schools in their area.  Because the school doesn’t encourage this type of connection to the wider international school community, then the teachers there ‘loose touch’ a bit with how other schools are doing things or tackling similar problems.  It is easy to just get used to being isolated and to doing things on your own; forgetting how much collaborating with nearby international schools could be beneficial and important for your career.

Not all international school teachers would choose to work in a less-connected schools.  Many of us would not like to teach in isolation at an international schools that is not well-linked to the wider international school community.  We all know that networking and meeting more people in our international school community helps us learn more about what is going on at other schools; the current trends and best practices for working with third culture kids.  20080318_1191_01

Many international schools are quite well-connected and linked indeed.  These international schools usually do many things to make sure their school is well known in the local and wider international school community.  They might be providing generous PD funds to their teachers so that they can do and go to many events that can in turn help their staff and the school as a whole become more linked to other international schools.  Some schools well send their teachers to check out a specific programme in person at another international school.  Some of the best learning about teaching and running new programmes (or changing old ones) at your school can be had when you can get the opportunity to see how it looks in person at another international school that is already doing those things and having great success at them.  Does your international school promote this type of PD for their staff?

International schools in the same city can either ignore each other as separate entities, or they can create on-going PD moments between themselves and facilitate collaboration and sharing of skills and knowledge.  It takes the effort of administration, most likely, to get the ball rolling (and keep it rolling) so that international school teachers at each school get opportunities to meet, network and to get work together on common goals.  Do you have a good working relationship with the other international schools in your city?

Another way international schools can become well-linked is through the various sports leagues/organizations.  When schools participate and compete with other international schools in their region of the world, their teachers and students become better connected with each other.

International schools can also become linked and connected via the various accreditation organizations that school opt to become members of.  For example, an international school that is a member of the ECIS organization provides certain privileges and opportunities for its teachers.  Working at an international school that is not accredited can may limit their opportunities to become linked to each other.

If you are an International School Community member currently working abroad, please log-on today and submit your comments and information about your school and how it is linked (or perhaps not so well linked) to other international schools.

If you are not a member yet, make sure to join www.internationalschoolcommunity.com and become a part of our over 1400 members.  Many of our current members have listed that they work at over 200 international schools around the world. Feel free to send these members a message with your questions and get firsthand information about how well their school is linked to other international schools.

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Blogs of International Teachers

Blogs of international school teachers: “A Leaf Around the World”

December 5, 2012


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

Our 26th blog that we would like to highlight is called “A Leaf Around The World”  Check out the wealth of information in the blog entries of this international school educator who currently works at Yokohama International School in Japan.

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A few entries that we would like to highlight:

How to be an explorer – Day 1

“I have been reading this book called ‘How to Be an Explorer of the World’. It’s basically a guidebook/ reminder of my creative thinking, whenever I feel like, I turn the pages and roll in. Last night, I came across the exploration #4 which is a very simple practice. During your walk to your work/school,etc. you pick up 30 things. A collection of 30 random things… I decided that I will pick one object everyday and will record my findings and thoughts here. It will take a month and in the end I will try to create an artwork with my findings. It is a challenge for me to break away from my daily routine of speed walking to the train station while I am nibbling over  my so called breakfast consisting a piece of  toasted bread with cheese, paying attention to nothing but the road that leads me to my destination. A nice challenge though, one that will make me look at things rather than seeing them passing by…”

What a great idea!  I think every one should have a go at this if they are living in a foreign country.  Sometimes we can walk down a street many times in a foreign city and not notice certain things, even things such as a store.  If we can remember to take a look around ourselves while living abroad, it could only help us to better understand our current situation and aide you in making new connections with regards to your life living in your host country.

Recycling in Japan

“If you are living in Japan, you make a big commitment to recycle. The moment that you register with your neighbourhood ward, you are given an A4 paper of how to separate your rubbish. There are certain days for certain garbage and you need to tie them up as shown in the picture and moreover you need to wash your plastic garbage before you put it out in front of your door…”

I love the topic of recycling in other countries. Each one does it slightly different.  Sometimes it takes awhile to get into the swing of things when trying to recycle things from your home after you have just moved to a new country.  If you are living in Shanghai, there isn’t really a city recycling programme.  But that doesn’t mean people in Shanghai don’t recycle.  There are always people with big bags going to and looking inside of garbage cans in Shanghai.  They are the recyclers.  Actually, they look at their recycling other people’s garbage as their job, according to an article I read on the That’s Shanghai website.

My Morning Walk in Yutenji

“Every morning, I walk to the train station in Yutenji. On my way to the station I meet the same people everyday, the little old lady neighbour who sweeps her front door, the young woman on her fancy bike with a trendy green backpack, the father and daughter walking down to Nakameguro, the big old neighbourhood watchman sitting on a bench in Yutenji park which is the smallest park ever with its own rules and regulations written on a sign in both Japanese and English. The most interesting thing every morning for me, is the board that hangs on the wall of a very old house with weekly messages from a wise neighbour. Everyday when I walk down that road, I stop, read the message and think about it on my way to the station…”

Your journey to work is an important one. Going to work in a car is a bit different than going to work by bike or walking.  You can see and interact with more people when walking to work.  You can get some exercise biking to work.  It is important to research how teachers get to work at international schools you are intersted in working at; will it be a good match with the preferred way you like to get to work?

If you are also interested in starting your career in the international school community, feel free to check out the 1300+ international schools that are listed on International School Community here. Also, don’t forget to check out our latest submitted comments and information about these schools.  We have over 6000+ submitted comments and information as of this blog entry!

Want to work for  an international school in the Japan like this blogger?  Currently, we have 37 international schools listed in the Japan on International School Community. Here are a few that have had comments and information submitted on their profiles:

American School in Japan (19 Comments)
Seisen International School (22 Comments)
St. Mary’s International School (14 Comments)
Kyoto International School (9 Comments)
Horizon Japan International School (9 Comments)
Canadian Academy (Kobe) (10 Comments)
Hiroshima International School (17 Comments)
• Gunma Kokusai Academy (8 Comments)

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

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New Teacher Orientation Must-Haves

International school orientation must-have for new teachers #4: Help finding a place to live!

September 20, 2012


 

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 of your start at your new school, in your new host country.

orientation

Must-have #4: Help finding a place to live!

Finding a place to live in any country can be a headache!  When you involve different languages, different cultural traditions and norms, etc. finding an apartment can be even more of a headache.  In turn, it is much appreciated if the administration/business staff at your new school can help you out.

Some international schools just place you in a compound that the school owns and you must live there for the whole length of your time working at that school.  Other international schools don’t own or have a relationship with buildings or complexes through the city and you are meant to search and get your own place completely on your own.  But there are more than just two kinds of experiences when it comes to where you will end up living after moving to your new international school.  There are some that state you must live in a certain apartment for the entire first year you work at a school. After your first year, then you are allowed to find and move to a completely different apartment of your choice.  Other international schools ask their current staff who are leaving if they can help to set up a new teacher to take over their apartment or they might even send out an email to the current staff asking around if any current teachers are looking for a roommate.  If there are some options, then these schools will usually help to make the right connections so that you can immediately move into your new place with your new roommate.

orientation

If there aren’t any options for you and the school just places you in a specific place, you shouldn’t have too much to worry about as you know you will immediately have a place to live when you arrive without much of a headache.  If there are options for you, you need to be prepared for potential headaches, unknowns and possible disappointments when you arrive.  Additionally, you might need to be prepared to move two or three times during your first year.  Your first place might be completely opposite to what you were thinking it would be!

If you can work it out and are lucky enough to visit the location that you will be moving to, then of course you can get some of the apartment searching done in person. How ideal would that be?  I have a colleague that made a point to make a visit to their future city during the beginning part of the summer (before they officially moved there later that summer).  They got the opportunity to view some apartments that the school had recommended to them in person.  Not all of us can be so lucky though as to make a pre-move trip to check out possible living situations, but if you are able to, then for sure that would be beneficial.

A good international school will make sure to answer all your questions that you have about your future living situation.  They should send pictures if applicable of your future apartment.  They should request answers to a housing survey that they send to you, so that they can better gauge what type of place best suits your needs and wants (that is if the school does indeed help to find you a place).  They should have language support available to you if you need some interpreting or translating of the rental documents. Good schools would even help you out to pay the sometimes high cost of a rental deposit (e.g apartments in Western Europe).

orientation

There are many international school teachers experiencing a wide range of experiences related to how they found a place to live.

Here are some firsthand accounts of how these international schools teachers found a place to live in the city they just moved to (and whether or not their new school helped them out or not):

“The Canadian Academy has a first year rule: all new teacher must live in school accommodations for the first year. This includes a variety of apartments and houses both on and off campus, and options depending on the number of dependents. All in all, they took care of everything, and it made it the best transition we’ve ever had. Besides getting a futon with pillows, sheets, and blankets, we had a stocked fridge, a basket of cleaning supplies and toiletries, snacks, a phone, a fax machine, furniture, and many more items. While I wouldn’t describe it as moving into a furnished place, it did have all the essentials. Also, after the first year, we’re free to move to our own choice of accommodations or select a new school housing option. Very user-friendly.  A teacher from Canadian Academy (Kobe).

“My current school offered to help find an apartment, however I was more interested in finding share accommodation as I find that’s a nice quick way to make new friends and to always have someone on hand who know’s the area you live in. They put me onto a website for share housing and also asked around the school to see if anyone was interested in having a new teacher share with them. Someone did and now I share a house with two other people in a beautiful, artfully decorated place 3 minutes walk from school and town and for half the rent I would pay to live in a place on my own. I also didn’t need to pay any deposit. They’re happy for it to be short-term in case I decide to move into my own place later, but I’m thinking that staying here is a good thing. I would personally recommend seeking share housing to anyone (not in a couple) who is open to the idea. I’ve also experienced living in my own apartment straight out, but became bored with that after a year and moved into a new place with 2 other friends. It can also be a pain setting up a new apartment in terms of buying furniture, crockery and connecting the internet.” A teacher from The Bermuda High School for Girls.

orientation

“The school helps you find your first apartment before you arrive.  Actually, all new teachers move into a gated community called Shanghai Gardens when I worked there.  Basically all new teachers need to live there their first year.  After that first year, then you can use the allotted housing if you decide to move and find your own place.  When I moved into the apartment at Shanghai Gardens, it had all the furniture you would need.  The school also left a ‘survival’ package of things to get you started (e.g. pots and pans, sheets, etc.).  I was appreciative of the school helping to place new teachers in this building complex and the apartment; many of the staff in the business office could also speak English which was a perk.  On the other hand, many teachers had a negative experience living at Shanghai Gardens.  There were problems with the apartments sometimes (as some of them were owned by different owners).  There were also problems with your bills at time, some of them being way too high from the price they should’ve been.  I was quite happy to find a different apartment my second year there.”  A teacher from Shanghai Rego International School.

“ACS Hillingdon was great to us in helping us find a place to live. They have a staff member, Maxine, who is there all year, including during the summer, and she worked with a local estate agent to help us find a flat that fit our needs, location, and price range. I know she drove several of even the pickiest people around to multiple places, and she knows the areas where the school’s bus routes go for those of us who don’t have a car.

The school even helped a newly hired couple whose flat was damaged by fire in the London riots of 2011 by giving them extra time off, arranging a place to stay while they looked for a new permanent residence, and even donating money from an emergency fund while insurance agencies worked through their claims.

A+ all the way around.” A teacher from Acs International School – Hillingdon Campus.

In the Benefits Information section of the school profile page on our website, we have a topic related to housing – Details about the staff housing or the housing allowance.

Log-on today to check out the hundreds of comments and information submitted in this section topic!  Become the most informed you can be when it comes to finding a place in your new city.

So, does your school provide help for new teachers to find a place to live? Please share your experiences!

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New Teacher Orientation Must-Haves

New teacher orientation must-have: Lunches provided by the school during the orientation week at the school campus.

August 10, 2012


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 of your start at your new school, in your new host country.

Must-have #3: Lunches provided by the school during the orientation week at the school campus.

Having a catered, home (cafeteria)-cooked lunch is NOT a given when you start working at an international school.  Some international schools include free lunches in their benefits package all year round (for all teachers mind you!), but some international schools don’t offer this benefit…not even during PD events or during new teacher orientation.

It is definitely a nice gesture on the school’s part to offer lunches to the new staff during the orientation week.  It is setting the right tone amongst the new staff and their budding relationship with their new school.  Additionally, it is a great opportunity for new staff and administration to get to know each other better being that they are kind of forced to dine together because they are eating the same food.

It is important to note that new teachers most likely don’t have everything set up in their new apartments to be ready to cook themselves a packed-lunch to bring to work.  The new teachers might not know exactly where to go (e.g. where there is a proper grocery store) to buy food they like to eat either.  Well they might know a place to go (one that was recommended to them by a new friend at work), but it might propose a challenge for them to walk there or to navigate a taxi or the public transportation to get there.  All of these things are stressers for new teachers during their first few weeks in their new host city/country, and one of the main goals of a new teacher orientation week is to make sure the new teachers are as least stressed as possible.

Now I’m not saying that schools are offering free lunches like in this picture (the beautiful hummus wrap), but some international schools have very nice cafeterias and cooks that can make some quite tasty lunches.  At a colleague’s international school in Mediterranean [American School of Barcelona (79 Comments)], they did offer free lunches during new teacher orientation week (during the whole year as well).  The food wasn’t the highest quality, but it was nice and made in-house.  Lots of fish and local cuisine were prepared on a number of the days.  At another colleague’s school Seoul, South Korea [Seoul International School (68 Comments)], there is a buffet available to staff every day…a pretty nice buffet too.  There are many choices to choose from. The quality can be quite good at times as well.  The colleague noted that sometimes they had to control themselves from not over-eating being that the buffet choices where very good some days! There is a small cost though involved for the teachers to pay if they wanted to eat at the school’s buffet, but it is reasonably priced at $3. However at new teacher orientation, the new staff get it for free (breakfast and lunch).  Additionally, the new teachers and the whole staff also get free lunches provided by the school during the first week back before students arrive.

At a for-profit international school in Shanghai though, it was a different story.  For the most part, the school did not provide lunches for the new staff during orientation week. If they did provide lunch one day, it wasn’t a lunch prepared for by the kitchen staff.  It was from a take-away place nearby to the school.  Most days though the new teachers had to figure out their own food to eat during orientation week.  The new teachers that didn’t want to make their own lunch (and most new teachers didn’t want to or weren’t really able to), they could also order for themselves (and also pay for themselves) from the take-away place.  After trying to navigate a menu all in Chinese characters with a Chinese staff member translating, when the food arrived it definitely wasn’t the highest of qualities or not even close to what you thought it would be.  It would have been better really if the school had started up a better relationship with another take-away place.  The problem was though that the school was basically in a very rural part of Shanghai, far away from the nicer places. On a positive note, the lunches at the take-away place nearby were priced very, very cheaply!

It is important that the basic needs be met for a new teacher working at an international school.  They should have a place to sleep (shelter), they should have some money (via a relocation allowance possibly) to spend on necessities, and they should have food and water (among other things).  A wise international school chooses to play a major part and takes an active role is helping to make sure their new teachers have their basic needs met.  One way to support this decision, for sure, is to provide lunches to teachers during new teacher orientation.  Now how that provided-lunch will look like can vary a lot though!  It is definitely not a “deal-breaker” though and you should mostly likely not be asking about the possibility of catered lunches (and their quality) at your interview!

How funny though if schools did come prepared to show pictures of the types of free lunches they provide to their new staff.  Actually, seeing those pictures at the interview might be nice; anything really to help you make your decision before you sign the contract.

So, does your school provide lunch during new teacher orientation week?  Please share your experiences!

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Salaries at Int’l Schools

Comments and information about salaries on ISCommunity #5: Hong Kong Int’l School, Shanghai Community Int’l School & Guamani Private School

August 9, 2012


Comments and information about salaries at international schools on International School Community.

Every week members are leaving information and comments on the salaries that teachers are making at international schools around the world.  Which ones pay more?  Which ones do you have to pay very high taxes?  Which ones offer tax-free salaries?  All important questions to think about when job searching, but where to find the answers to those questions?

Why do some international schools keep their specific salary information so secret?  Even at international school job fairs, you don’t really get to see the exact amount of your yearly and monthly salary until you see the contract paperwork.  Even then sometimes you don’t know what will be your exact take-home pay each month.  At International School Community, we want to make the search for salaries easier for international school teachers. In the benefits section of the school profile page, there is a section specifically for salaries.  The topic is: “Average monthly salary after taxes and in what currency (explain taxation situation). How often do you get paid throughout the year?

Here are 3 out of the many comments and information related to salaries that have been posted on our website:

Shanghai Community Int’l School(52 total comments)
“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.”

Hong Kong International School (40 total comments)
“We are paid in 100% HK$. We don’t get taxes taken out of our salary, we have to pay 16% one time a year (in two payment). Teachers must be prepared and save for those payments. 12 payments a year. On average teachers get 3-4K USD a month.”



Guamani Private School
(16 total comments)
“100% of the salary is in the USD. Social Security it taken out of your salary. Salary range is $1400 to $1650.”

Check out the other comments and information about these schools (and 1000s of others) on our website: www.internationalschoolcommunity.com

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12 Tips for Selecting an Int'l School

Selecting an international school: Tip #2 – Location: Is the school conveniently located?

July 19, 2012


What reasons do parents think about when selecting a school for their children when they move abroad? Are they similar reasons for why teachers choose to work at a school abroad as well?  There are many kinds of international schools and they are all in different situations.  Finding out where exactly your international school is located and where you will be located is very important to know, before you make any big decisions to move or choose a school to attend or work at.  So, how do you choose the right international school for your children to attend or for you to work at?  Our new blog series will discuss the Tips for Selecting an International School.

Tip #2 – Location: Is the school conveniently located?

The American School of London (see picture to the left) and the United Nations International School are conveniently located, but not all international schools are in the same situation.  Some international schools are built way outside of the city center, far away, especially if you plan on living in the city center.  Sometimes your journey to work might be around 1 hour, one-way; an important thing to know before you decide on signing a contract to work at an international school.

If you don’t mind living in a 3rd ring suburb, maybe it wouldn’t be such a big of an issue that your school is so far away from the city center.  However, if you like to enjoy city life and prefer to live there as well, then it might not be the best fit to work at an international school that is not centrally located.

If you are a teacher with children that attend the school, living closer to school also might be a positive thing.  Maybe if you have children, you wouldn’t mind working at a school that is way out in the suburbs because that is always where you would prefer to live anyways.

Before signing a contract, an international school teacher definitely needs to evaluate their current situation and what their living-situation needs are.  Make sure to ask the right questions at the interview about how your current situation and needs match with the location of the school and where you would most likely be living in relation to that school.

If you had a choice, what would be the preferred way for you to and from work every day?  Would you rather ride your bike, take a bus, take the school’s bus, ride on a train, walk, drive your car, take a taxi, or a combination of 2-3 types of transportation?  What amount of time is an acceptable journey length: 10-15 minutes, 15-30 minutes, 45 minutes, or over one hour?

One colleague friend of mine worked at a school that was more than a one-hour journey from their apartment.  Most of the teachers there were taken to and from the school on one of the school’s buses “for teachers.”  One positive thing this teacher took away from that experience was that many teachers were forced to not work so long at the school.  Because of the fact that the school’s bus for teachers left at a specific time, you had to get on that bus…otherwise you would be stuck at school with limited options to get home!  Sometimes teachers do need to stay long at school to get work completed, but often teachers don’t really need to stay for hours and hours.  If you are forced to end your workday at a certain time, you would be surprised how much of your work gets done during that time constraint.

Another colleague friend of mine lives in the city center and their school is very conveniently located in relation to the city center.  Many teachers at this school also live where this teacher lives, and the journey from home to school is around 12-15 minutes by train and 20-25 minutes by bike.  Many of the teachers at this school are quite pleased that they at least have the option of living in the city center and also have a relatively easy commute to work.  There are also many options to get to work based on the needs and situation of each teacher.  It is nice when there are many transportation options available to the meet the needs of a diverse staff.

We have had hundreds of comments and information submitted about this very topic on a number of international schools on International School Community’s website.  For example on the Shanghai Rego International School‘s profile page there have been three comments submitted so far:

On the Misr American College school profile page, we have one rather informative comments about the school’s location:

If you are an international school teacher currently working abroad, please share your comments about if your school is conveniently or NOT conveniently located.

Additionally, make sure to join www.internationalschoolcommunity.com as you are able to check out our over 830 members.  Many of our current members have listed they work at over 200 international schools around the world. Feel free to send these members a message with your questions about where most teachers are living in relation to the school and the city center.

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Blogs of International Teachers

Blogs of international school teachers: “Cindy Vine”

June 7, 2012


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

Our 19th blog that we would like to highlight is called “Cindy Vine”  Check out the blog entries of this international school teacher who have lived and worked in nine different countries in her life so far.  She currently is working at International School Moshi (Moshi).

A few entries that we would like to highlight:

Teachers who get hit by the travel bug

“There is a category of teacher called Tourist Teachers.  These are teachers who only take up a job in an international school because they want to travel that country and have a base to come back to.  They tend to only stay a year or two, and then they move on to their next adventure.  Then you get another group of international teachers who enjoy soaking up the culture of different peoples and even though they travel and explore, they enjoy being immersed in the culture so they stay longer.”

Sometimes I feel like traveling is the number one goal of international school teachers, well at least for the teachers just starting out in the International School Community. Some of the more veteran teachers at an international school tend to not travel as much as the newbies.  The longer you stay at an international school, the less likely you will be traveling during your many holidays.  That is not true for everyone, but that is the trend that I have seen at the current and past international schools that I’ve worked at.  Sometimes it is all about the location and the experience living in that location.  I have noticed that the vast majority of people that move to a city in this world, move there because they intended to move there at some point in their life.  People like us tend to dedicate our lives to a language for example (let’s say Spanish).  A typical place for that type of a person to end up living (even if it is just for a short time) is a country that speaks that language that they have been studying for many years (Spanish).  Many international school teachers do take risks though and accept positions in countries that they know nothing about; they definitely didn’t study about the language there and know very little about the culture there either.  That doesn’t stop the travel bug in them though, exploring a land you know nothing about can be quite exciting for an international school teacher.  We like to travel to the unusual places in the world.  International school teachers are risk-takers and like the exploring of places a typical tourist wouldn’t normally travel to.  Sometimes the travel bug is so intense that staying at home during one, even just one, of their holidays is just not an option.

A visit to a Tanzanian Hospital

All I can say is that I am pleased I wasn’t seriously ill or dying.  If I was I would have died trying to open a file.

My appointment with the visiting dermatologist from the UK was at 10am.  I was told to open a file first.  Nobody actually explained the process of opening a file to me, and believe you me, there is a process!  At 8.30am I stood in a queue that moved forward painfully slowly as there are always people who join the queue from the side, and always join it in front of you.  After fifteen minutes the queue dissolved and expanded sideways into a mass of people all pushing and shoving to get to the front.  After elbowing my way to the front after what seemed to be an unusually long time of jostling, I was told to go to the next window.  Another queue just as wide as it was deep.  Have I ever mentioned how I hate waiting?  And I couldn’t even read my Kindle because I had to stand the whole time and try and keep my place by using my elbows to keep out those trying to push in.  Luckily, I perfected the skill of elbowing during numerous train trips to Shanghai when I lived in China.

When I finally got to the front of the second queue, I was told to go back to the first queue.  I nearly burst into tears.  My chest started closing and I could feel a panic attack developing.  By this time it was 10.15.  I had been queueing for an hour and forty-five minutes and had achieved nothing.  Like a sheep I joined the next queue, in my heart knowing it was a waste of time.  If I didn’t have this strange growth jutting out of me I would have left.  A kind nurse in another queue asked me if I had a piece of pink paper.  Of course I didn’t!  Why would I have a piece of pink paper?  Apparently, they only help people with a pink paper.  You have to first get a piece of pink paper from the department you are visiting, in my case, the dermatology department.  Nobody had thought to tell me this.  Two hours of my life wasted.  I hate that.

The nurse called someone to take me to dermatology, two car parks and three buildings away.

Now clutching the piece of pink paper, I once again joined the queue.  Some people who had been queueing almost as long as me took pity and let me go to the front and push my piece of pink paper through the little window.  I saw why the whole process took so long.  No computers in sight, everything written by hand.  Painstakingly.  Cindy was written down as Cinci.  At that stage I was beyond caring.  It was already 11am.  I had been there since 8.30am.  After handing in my paper I was told to sit down and wait.  At last I could read my Kindle.  After fifteen minutes I decided it might be a good idea to try and find out what happens next.  I once again rejoined the queue at the second window where it appeared you had to pay.  Of course, being a foreigner I knew I would get charged a lot more than the locals.  Another nurse who had been in the queue at 8.30am came into the waiting area.  “Oh Mama you are still here!  I have been and gone, been and gone and am already bringing in a new patient!”  My smile was a little sickly.  It was 11.20am.”

Going to hospitals in other countries (even if they are “expat” hospitals with mostly English-speaking doctors) can be quite the experience.  I for one have had relatively very good experiences going to hospitals in the countries that I have lived in.  We have to remember too that many hospitals in the USA also have their problems; they are definitely not perfect places to visit either.  I have said many times that it is very important that there is at least an option to be able to speak in English to your physician.  I have had though one doctor say to me that I should speak in the XXXX language to him instead of English. Even though the doctor could speak English he preferred to continue our appointment in his language. Luckily I knew the language, but it is quite difficult to talk about your personal health in a second language, that for sure. Because of all this (including the language and cultural barrier) going to the hospital in a foreign country can be very stressful at times.

Check out the international schools that are listed in Tanzania on International School Community.

Currently, there are 9 international schools listed on our website, with 5 of them being schools that have had information and comments submitted on them.  Check out the submitted comments about these schools here.

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 Newsletter v2012.06 – 2 June, 2012

June 2, 2012


v2012.06 – 2 June, 2012:

Summer vacation is the time of year all teachers are waiting for (and I suppose all students as well!).  The 1.5 to 2 months of summer break is especially important though for teachers who work at international schools because it is typically when they take their annual trip back home.  When you live in a foreign country, half way across the world, it does indeed feel good to go home.  Even though you do create a new ‘family’ when you live abroad with the other international school teachers that you are working with, your home is most likely where your birth family lives.  Going home too can simply mean just going back to your home country, not necessarily going back to where you grew up.

There are some positives to going back to your home country during the summer:

• You get to see your old friends from when you went to University maybe or people that you went to high school with.  It is important to reconnect with old friends and acquaintances; Facebook still can’t compete with real face to face meetings with these people from your life. Also, you can tell them all about the adventures you have been on while they have been staying-put most likely in the same city that they went to high school in!

• If you go to your home country during the summer, you get to stock-up on all the favorite products from your old life.  Many international school teachers love to go to their favorite grocery stores to stock-up on all the products not available in their host country supermarkets.  Be careful though, food products weigh a lot and can easily make your suitcase go over the allowed weight on your flight back!

• You get to see your nieces and nephews in person, noticing how they are getting so much older now and all grown-up.  You can do things with them like taking them to the movies or going out for a few games of bowling.

A few alternatives for your summer if you don’t fancy going home:

• Some international school teachers just want to stay put in their host country during the summer.  Some feel that you don’t have the time to really explore the city, the nearby cities, or the other cities in the country during the school year. And if you are currently living in the northern hemisphere, summer is the best time typically to explore these cities.  Some teachers also just simply stay put to save money.

• A month-long trip to Africa or a month-long trip to the Chicago area where your family lives? A question you might be asking yourself in April. Some are faced with this international school educator’s dilemma each summer.  For many international school teachers, the price of the flight to go home is actually the same price it would take to go to more exotic places like Kenya or Costa Rica or even Bali.  Who would want to go home (a place you have seen many times already) in place of going on an exciting adventure?  Many choose the adventure option each summer!

So, are you planning on going home this summer? Are you the international school teacher that makes their annual trip home each summer, the one that stays in the host country, or the one that is traveling to another country on some adventure?  Share your stories and reasons for your summer plans here!

From the staff at International School Community.


Recently updated schools with new comments and information:

· 02 Jun  The English International School of Padua (12 new comments)
Padova, Italy
“Members of staff are expected to be on the school premises no later than 08:30 a.m…”
· 01 Jun  The British School of Tashkent (6 new comments)
Tashkent, Uzbekistan

“The school provides accommodation and access to the local international clinic with direct billing for all treatment including GP visits but excluding dental cover…”

· 31 May   North Jakarta International School (13 new comments)
Jakarta, Indonesia
“Teachers live in school-provided, furnished housing in the vicinity of the school…”

· 30 May  Yongsan International School of Seoul (8 new comments)
Seoul, South Korea
“Many of the teachers are from United States with just a few more single teachers than teaching couples…”

· 28 May  Bina Bangsa School  (13 new comments)
Jakarta, Indonesia

“There is a baggage allowance of US$500…”

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


Recent blog entries:

· The Wonderful World of International School Hiring Fairs: Lesson #8 – “Courtesy is cool, good will is good stuff.”
“As an international school teacher you definitely don’t want to intentionally close any doors that might lead to other opportunities in the future…”

· Common Myths and Misconceptions about Bilingual Children #3: Young children soak up languages like sponges.
“I think the key with students learning the target language faster than adults is that they are going to school (their job) every day for 7-8 hours…”

· International Teaching Predictions for 2012 #7: Latin America
“I find that growth in international schools often follows a construction boom, and Brazil in particular…”

· Survey results are in: How much does your school pay for your housing benefits?
“Some of my international school teacher friends don’t get any housing allowance, namely those that are living in Western Europe…”

·  New Teacher Orientation Must-Haves at International Schools #1: A Trip Around the City
“Should your new international school be organizing a trip around the city for all their new teachers…”

· Which international chools do IS Community members represent?
“Currently, International School Community members work at or have worked at the following 179 international schools…”


Recently added schools:


Requested schools to have members leave comments on:


Last month we have had visits from 101 countries around the world!

Site Stats:
Current members: 629 ( 123)
School profiles
: 1222 ( 17)
Blog entries
: 271 ( 17)
Posted comments & info
:
4913 ( 335)
Twitter followers: 349 ( 13)


Ways to get free premium membership:

1. Write and submit 15-29 comments and information on the schools you know about  for 6 free months.
2. Write and submit 30+ comments and information for 1 year free.
3. Become our next member spotlight for 6 free months.
4. Submit a blog article (e.g. a Can you Relate? blog entry) for 1 free month.


New members:

· Benjamin Wagor
(Xiamen International School)
· Topic Dog
(QSI International School of Brindisi)
· Sobelle Belcaid
(El Alsson British and American International School)
· Jeffrey Goldberg
(Dhirubhai Ambani International School)
· Joseph Levno
(Brent School School)
· Tassos Anastasiades
(Day Waterman College)


Current Survey Topic:

Vote here!


Member spotlight:

Anne Llewellyn
“Then I said: “Now I am going to see the world”.  I am going to learn all that cultural/language/life I didn’t have time for when studying science…”

“The best part of teaching for me was instilling into my students a knowledge, respect and love of their own country.”

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 Article
Why for-profit schools can be good.“GEMS schools director: ‘We don’t care about profit.’ GEMS currently runs 10 schools in the UK, but it acquired these schools from other operators, rather than creating them from scratch. It now plans to open six new schools over the next two years, and promises that they will charge more competitive fees than many existing private schools.”
“In 2009, the firm’s then chief executive Anders Hultin warned that the Conservative’s proposed free school programme would fail, if private firms weren’t allowed to run schools for a profit…”



Check out this blog entry to read more about for-profit international schools. Out of the 1222 international schools listed on ISCommunity 499 are for-profit and 723 are non-profit schools.  If you prefer to work at a non-profit international school, it looks like you are in luck as they are currently in the majority on our website.

 

Highlighted blog of an international teacher:

This international school teacher’s blog is about teaching at British International School Shanghaiand living in Shanghai, China.One of their blog entries (New Year, new role…building the team) is describing how international schools are sometimes in a pickle trying to organize good, useful, purposeful, effective, etc. professional development on the few days back after a break:

“Following our wonderful Christmas break in India, it was great to get back and see our colleagues at BISS; and especially the Humanities team, who I am excited to now be leading.  Although, I cannot believe how cold Shanghai has become!  Our first day back was a training day and was well structured and enjoyable; following a warm welcome back from Sir Terry, the secondary and primary staff split to follow separate training schedules. Our day (secondary) was focused on Formative Assessment and was extremely interactive and practical…”

Another one of their entries (Cutting Ties…) is about how each international school is different and has their own rules about how they would like their school to be run:

“I was recently contacted by my previous employer, an International School in Vietnam, who politely asked me to close down the Edmodo groups I had set up whilst at the school. In particular they wanted me to close a group I had set up named ‘Social Connections’ that was created to allow students (and staff) to remain in touch after moving on…as so often happens on the international circuit. They stated that new school policy dictated that any contact with students must cease when you leave…”

* 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 Newsletter v2012.05 – 05 May, 2012

May 5, 2012


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:

  • street signs and scripts you cannot read (e.g. in Asia, Middle East etc.)
  • a language you do not understand
  • how to get the simplest things done (fix a tap leak, AC problem)
  • who to ask for help

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.


Recently updated schools with new comments and information:

· 04 May  Copenhagen International School (4 new comments)
Copenhagen, Denmark
“The surrounding area is a bit posh. Most people from Copenhagen view the Hellerup area as place for…”· 04 May  Southbank International School (5 new comments)
London, England

“There is a great food, green, meat market at Borough market, it is near London Bridge station. It is pretty cool there. They have…”· 02 May  American School of El Salvador (10 new comments)
San Salvador, El Salvador

“EA provides foreign hire teachers furnished housing in modern school-owned town homes and houses located on…”· 01 May  Tokyo International School  (11 new comments)
Tokyo, Japan

“I interviewed with them a few years ago at the CIS fair in London. There were two male administrators there. They were…”

· 30 Apr  Institute of Applied Technology (Abu Dhabi) (8 new comments)
Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates

“End of Service (Gratuity) equal to one month’s basic salary for each year of service…”

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


Recent blog entries:

· 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…”


Recently added schools:


Requested schools to have members leave comments on:


Last month we have had visits from 96 countries around the world!

Site Stats:
Current members: 506 ( 101)
School profiles
: 1205 ( 38)
Blog entries
: 271 ( 19)
Posted comments & info
:
4578 ( 575)
Twitter followers: 336 ( 13)


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:

· Jamel Khalil
(American International School of Kuwait)
· Emin Huseynov
(Rainbow International School)
· Claire Moore
(Newton International School)
· Firdaus Bhathena
(Canadian International School –
Hong Kong)
· Eric Lee
(American International School Vietnam)
· Lauren Spear
(International Montessori School of Beijing)


Current Survey Topic:

Vote here!


Member spotlight:

Sonya TerBorg
“A great leader is really important to me.  I try and find out about the school leadership so I know…”

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 Article

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…”

* 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: “Gary and Sally: About international teaching”

April 29, 2012


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

Our 18th blog that we would like to highlight is called “Gary and Sally: About international teaching”  Check out the blog entries of these international school teachers who have worked in both Dubai and Almaty (including even a few other cities around the world).

A few entries that we would like to highlight:

International schools – “The circuit”

In the world of international education there are many teachers who are “on the circuit”. 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.

School reputations are developed among the teachers through word of mouth, staff at a good school will be very positive and upbeat, staff at a school with issues will not be so positive. You have to learn to read between the lines – sometimes what is left unsaid is more important than what is said – in the similar way that recruiters are careful to give you the good side.

When you attend a job fair, one of the best things you can do is talk to other candidates in the recruiting lounge, over a coffee etc, and ask about the international schools in their country, and also their current school. For example you can find out if there is a stable staff or a regular high turnover – things that most recruiters are unlikely to pass on. In some cases there are one or two international schools in the country, so it is worth asking – in other countries there are numerous schools. Word of mouth and the reactions and knowledge of people “on the ground” is very important – as they are not only able to tell you about the school, but also the general lifestyle, cost of living, social opportunities, potential for saving etc etc.

Other teachers are your best resource, in my opinion, for honest information about schools. Of course there will be some teachers who will be unhappy in a school (not because of the school, but because of themselves) and will be negative, but these are easy to spot, so you can usually discount their vitriol against a school and its administration.  Most people will give you a balanced view of the school, point out some of the negatives and things that need to be addressed, but will also be honest about the positives in the school as well. One sign of a good school is one which will put current teachers in touch with you (after you sign the contract :) ) so that you can ask them direct questions about the school.

A recent development I have noticed in the last few years is that some teachers encourage colleagues from a previous school to come to a school where they are, this has many benefits, for the school and the people coming in –

* they do not have to recruit the teacher through Search or CIS,
* the school is trusting the staff they have to bring in tried and tested staff who they rate,
* the people being employed usually do not have to attend a job fair,
* and they have the safety of mind that their friends have checked out the country and school for them.”

The international school community is indeed quite small.  With a prediction of there being over 10,000 international schools in the next decade (there are just around 6,000 right now) the community of teachers might be just getting a little bit larger.  I think there are many factors that determine the school’s reputation in the community.  Word of mouth is definitely one of those ways.  I think the benefits that the school offers sometimes is related to the school’s reputation as well (i.e. Shanghai American School in Shanghai).  I wonder how fast reputations change about a school or if they change even at all.  If you are new to the international school community, then you might not necessarily know the current reputation of the international school you are interviewing with at the fair.  You can get some information from the internet and certain websites, but now we have International School Community.  On our website, you can go to the school’s profile page that you are interested in and contact a member that either currently works at that school or has worked at that school in the past.  You can easily get a first hand account of the reputation from a current or former teacher at that international school.

Living overseas

Having left your own safe environment suddenly you no longer have control (which as teachers we enjoy) over your world. As soon as you step out into the outside world in whatever country, you can be faced with

  • street signs and scripts you cannot read (eg in Asia, Middle East etc)
  • language you do not understand
  • how to get the simplest thing done (fix a tap leak, AC problem)
  • who to ask for help

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’.”

This entry made me laugh out loud a bit.  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.  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, I can relate to that.  Additionally, not being able to understand that 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 I am so use to being on a train or plane where everyone around me is speaking a different language than me that it is strange now (and quite over-stimulating) to be on a plane in the United States where I understand all the many conversations going on around my seat.

What to expect at a job fair

“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 – the next day – or drop a note in your folder to say that they no longer wish to continue seeing you. In some cases – and this has happened to us – some schools will show a lot of interest in you at interview, and be very enthusiastic, but then not inform you either way. It is quite depressing when this happens, but most schools are professional and will let you down easy instead of just ignoring you.

There is often the “shmoosh” – an informal drink in the evening with recruiters and candidates. I feel it is very important to go to this and network – with other candidates as well as recruiters. It can give you the chance to ask a few informal questions of recruiters of a school you are contemplating, and you might even meet a candidate from that school, or who has worked there.

Day 2 : This is the callback day – the recruiters will hopefully have narrowed the field and you will still be in the running. If you are lucky, you will have a second interview. After a second interview one of two things will happen, either the school will offer you the position or they will say that they will get back to you later. If they say the second thing, ask them to give you a definite date. If you are offered a contract, then you sign a preliminary document which is a legally binding agreement to inform the fair organisers that you have accepted a position. Later, when the recruiters return to their schools and countries, they will send you the proper contract to sign.

I describe a job fair as “an emotional roller coaster” as you go from the depths of despair to the heights of elation, usually in the space of a few minutes.

It is a bit surreal to have job interviews in hotel rooms, but the international school community has been doing it so long at recruitment fairs that now it is normalized.  Do the administrators actually sleep in those rooms though?  That I’m not so sure of.  The folder at an international school recruitment fair: it is the most looked at mailbox of your life.  Be prepared though to hardly get anything at some fairs.  It all depends on your past experience, but also is related to who has the “power” that year: the international schools or the candidates.  You know I have been to three recruitment fairs and have never gone to the informal drink event at the end of the first day.  Never thought it was something I was interested in going to.  What does everyone think of this event?

Check out the international schools that are listed in Almaty and Dubai on International School Community.

Currently, there are 25 international schools listed in the Dubai area on our website, with 13 of them being schools that have had information and comments submitted on them.  Check out the submitted comments about these schools here.

Currently, there are 5 international schools listed in the Almaty area on our website, with 3 of them being schools that have had information and comments submitted on them.  Check out the submitted comments about these schools here.

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 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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Recently Updated School Profiles

Recently Updated School Profiles #14: Wuxi Taihu Int’l School, Shanghai United Int’l School & Int’l School of Paris

March 31, 2012


Members of International School Community have written some new and informative comments on the following schools:

30 Mar  Wuxi Taihu International School (9 new comments) :

One of the new comments: “10% gratuity at end of 2 years; you get paid for your unused sick/personal leave as well….”

29 Mar  Shanghai United International School (9 new comments):

One of the new comments: “The school is located at Minhang District, Shanghai. It is 20 minutes taxi drive from our school to the downtown…”

29 Mar  International School of Paris (9 new comments):

One of the new comments: “10% contribution is what the school gives to your retirement plan…”

Check out the rest of the international school profile pages that have been recently updated on International School Community here.

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Surveys

New Survey: How much does your current school pay for your housing benefits?

March 26, 2012


A new survey has arrived!

Topic:  How much does your current school pay for your housing benefits?

What is possibly the biggest expense you have in life?  Housing.  Your bill usually comes in the form of a mortgage payment or rent.  On top of that bill, most people also have to pay utilities, not just one utility, but all of them.  Some heating or electricity bills can reach very high amounts during the winter in some areas of the Northern Hemisphere. All of these bills add up and you find yourself with very little money left over for other things in life (like the other most popular expense of international school teachers: travel!).

Now imagine a life when you don’t have to worry about paying your rent.  Even better, try to imagine a life not having to pay for your rent or even any of your utilities.  In the international school community that life can be a reality.  For many of us in Asia, SE Asia and in the Middle East (and Africa, Eastern Europe, etc…) that reality is a welcomed event in our lives.  Without having to worry about paying your rent, many other opportunities present themselves.  For once in your life you don’t see your bank account go down to its last $50.  For once you see yourself saving money without even trying to save.  For once you can literally go out to eat every night if you wanted to.  With your “extra” money in hand, you might even decide that getting a massage one or two times a week in now within your budget.  You might now decide that you can afford a more expensive trip that would have otherwise been out of your budget.

With all that being said about the “good life”, having to pay for your rent isn’t automatically a bad thing.  If your salary is quite high, you might just be making the same amount of money even after you deduct the amount you are paying towards your rent.  Though the cost of living might be higher than the place you once were with the “free rent”, you still might find that you have a similar budget for traveling and extra expenses.  Clearly it is very important to note exactly how much money you will be netting each month and how much your apartment will cost you at the international school you are considering.

On www.internationalschoolcommunity.com we have a topic under the Benefits section that is specifically about sharing information about the housing situation at the school.  It is called: Details about the staff housing or the housing allowance. If there is no housing allowance, how much are rent costs and utilities.


Shanghai Rego International School

There have been 100s of comments and information already submitted in this topic on numerous school profile pages on our website.  Log-on today to check out the latest comments related to housing about the international schools that interest you most.  If you currently work at or have worked at an international school, please also log-on and share what you know about the housing situation.

Additionally, the Educatorsoverseas website also has a page about different housing situations at international schools that you might want to check out.

So, how much does your current school pay for your housing benefits?  Go to the homepage of International School Community and submit your vote today!  You can check out the latest voting results here.

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Great Resource

Great Resource: International School – a website about the many international schools in China.

March 23, 2012


Are you interested in reading about the numerous international schools in China?

Then you might want to check out the “International School!” website.

China is one of the countries where the economy is booming.  As a result, the number of international schools there is also booming.  Many teachers are finding themselves taking a chance on China and having a great time working at an international there.  Many of the international schools there offer some excellent benefits, thus making the choice to live and work an easy one.

China has so much to offer too in terms of culture and travel.  With an endless list of interesting places to visit, international schools teachers will never get bored when wanting to explore the country.

Some people think the language there (Mandarin Chinese) is too difficult to learn and acquire, but after working in China for two years myself, I met and worked with many expats there that had become very highly proficient.

The International School website has many different sections to it.

The advantages of International Schools

“Mr. Kai said that the nationalities of the students in his ACS schools are of more than 69 countries. Fitzmaurice from Nord Anglia said that all the children studying in the three schools in China received one lesson of Chinese mandarin once a week from the first beginning, so that when they leave they can reach the proficient level although they may not speak Chinese quite fluently…(more)”

The system and approval of International Schools

“The international schools for foreigners’ children are set in the name of middle school, primary school or kindergarten. The courses offered, the teaching materials and the teaching plans are determined by the school itself. Generally, the system is the same as that in the founder’s motherland, or the popular IB system, and even the school can set its system by itself.

The NCCT in China provides the authentication service for the international schools. The international schools which are set for more than three years can apply for authentication voluntarily. And each time of authentication is valid for 5 years. The international schools receiving this authentication means that the graduation certificates conferred by the international schools are directly acknowledged by China’s official.

Western Academy of Beijing is the first one to get this authentication and this authentication system is first proposed by Western Academy of Beijing…(more).

There are also separate pages for the 3 different sections at international schools (Primary, Middle School, and Secondary).  In each section, you can find the following information:  the latest news from international schools in that section, highlighted articles, the latest news that is recommended to read, a list of recommended international schools, articles about the perspective of the students in that section, a FAQ section, a section about when there are Open Days at various international schools, etc.

Primary Schools in China
Middle Schools in China
High Schools in China

Currently there are 106 different international schools listed in China on www.internationalschoolcommunity.com.  The cities with the most international schools listed on our website are:

Hong Kong (22)

American International School (Hong Kong) (22 Comments)
Hong Kong Academy Primary School (14 Comments)
International Christian School (Hong Kong) (11 Comments)
Li Po Chun United World College of Hong Kong (11 Comments)

Shanghai (18)
Concordia International School (Shanghai) (15 Comments)
Shanghai Community Int’l School (10 Comments)
Shanghai Rego International School (72 Comments)
Western International School of Shanghai (27 Comments)

Beijing (16)
Western Academy Beijing (23 Comments)
International School of Beijing (15 Comments)
Tsinghua International School (Beijing) (10 Comments)
Beijing National Day School (12 Comments)

Taiwan (11)
Morrison Christian Academy (3 campuses) (13 Comments)
Ivy Collegiate Academy (7 Comments)

Guangzhou (5)
American International School of Guangzhou (12 Comments)
Alcanta International College (6 Comments)

Take a look at the numerous comments and information that have been submitted about these international schools in China!

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Blogs of International Teachers

Blogs of international school teachers: “dkceci”

March 5, 2012


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

Our 16th blog that we would like to highlight is called “kdceci.”  Check out the blog entries of this international school teacher who has worked at Yokohama International School.

A few entries that we would like to highlight:

One Week After

“One week ago, we were at school. A normal Friday. Ceci was dressed in her yellow PE uniform because it’s PE day. On Friday afternoon, we had our usual get together with all of the 5th graders. We’re on the road to Exhibition, a culminating project of the PYP where students intensely study something of interest. This year, the kids have chosen their passion and are exploring an issue related to that passion. It’s been really fun, but we’re on a tight schedule. On Friday, we were reflecting on the week’s work and stressing the schedule we need to keep to finish this on time.

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.

I squished under the table with the girls. My co-teacher continued to stand up. I’m not sure how he did it. I couldn’t move. I put my arm over one of the girls and tried to comfort them all. A few were hysterical. It kept shaking. Over the loudspeaker, the high school principal in his dry, calming voice told us what was happening (earthquake). A few times he said, “it’s now safe to get out,” and then 1/2 second later, “No, back under the desks, the ground is still shaking.” During a time like that, you needed someone to speak your thoughts, and hats off to Mr. Stanworth who did.”

I can’t imagine how I would frightening this experience would have been.  I do know that I would have done the same as this international school teacher and just try to comfort as many students as I could.  I guess it is something that maybe one forgets about when deciding which international schools to interview with and where you would most like to live next in the world; the natural disasters that typically occur in that area.  I guess you can’t predict those though, whether they would happen when you are living there or not.  Thanks for sharing your story with us.

Teaching and Discovery

“It’s been a while, but time for a blog. 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.”

Going back to an international school after a summer off is always an interesting experience.  If you are starting your second year, you might be surprised about the feeling of “home” as you leave the host country airport back to your apartment.  It is interesting how quickly your host country and school become familiar and give you that sense of belonging.

“Ceci is now in 4th grade. Hard to believe. After a difficult year last year–clashes with the teaching style–she seems relaxed. She says they haven’t been doing much and feels relieved. However, then she’ll mention the things they have done in class, and it’s like secret learning. I like that. For example, they’ve been working on estimating in measurement. They were talking about how far it might be to the train station, and everyone was making guesses. Then, the teacher said, well, let’s find out, and he took off. Ceci said she didn’t know where he went, and they all looked out the window, and he was heading to the train station. So, like little ducks, they followed him. Learning through doing… I like that.

I’m trying to do more of that in my class. My students have been building things lately. After giving them the chance to play with plastic tiles for Math, they now want to make elaborate domino structures and buildings any chance they get. We also played around with the concept of displacement the other day, and they built boats made from aluminum foil. On their own, they came up with the idea of surface area and reinforcing sides and balancing weight. Really amazing.”

I like getting inspired by other international school teachers.  How great for international school teachers too that have their children attending the school.  Sometimes you get an insight into another teacher’s classroom that you wouldn’t have necessarily; and then you get to learn about or be reminded of some great teaching techniques that you can then use in your own classroom!

Check out the Yokohama international School profile page on International School Community.  Currently, there are 22 international schools listed in Tokyo area on our website, with all 4 of them being schools that teach the PYP curriculum.

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

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Video Highlight

Video Highlight: 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.

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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Blogs of International Teachers

Blogs of international school teachers: SirSolo

February 13, 2012


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

Our 15th blog that we would like to highlight is called “SirSolo.”  Check out the blog entries of this international school teacher who has worked at British International School Shanghai.

A few entries that we would like to highlight:

New Year, new role…building the team

“Following our wonderful Christmas break in India, it was great to get back and see our colleagues at BISS; and especially the Humanities team, who I am excited to now be leading.  Although, I cannot believe how cold Shanghai has become!

Our first day back was a training day and was well structured and enjoyable; following a warm welcome back from Sir Terry, the secondary and primary staff split to follow separate training schedules. Our day (secondary) was focused on Formative Assessment and was extremely interactive and practical.”

International schools are sometimes in a pickle trying to organize good, useful, purposeful, effective, etc. professional development on the few days back after winter break.  I have worked at international schools when they have had somebody booked months in advance (for the after winter break PD days) and then to find out kind of last minute that the person couldn’t come any more.  Not just every trainer wants to (or is able to) lead their PD sessions in exotic locations around the world I imagine, but the ones that do…are indeed in very high demand (e.g. Virginia Rojas, Ron Ritchhart, etc.)!

Cutting Ties…

“I was recently contacted by my previous employer, an International School in Vietnam, who politely asked me to close down the Edmodo groups I had set up whilst at the school. In particular they wanted me to close a group I had set up named ‘Social Connections’ that was created to allow students (and staff) to remain in touch after moving on…as so often happens on the international circuit. They stated that new school policy dictated that any contact with students must cease when you leave.

The group set up meant that teachers didn’t have those awkward moments when saying goodbye to tearful students whereby they would normally be forced to say: “sorry no, you can’t be my Facebook friend or have my email”. Instead they’d simply say, “Keep in touch, see you on Edmodo!” The communications we exchanged about their reasons for me closing the group were all valid and I fully agreed but it did get me thinking about some interesting questions and ethical dilemmas teachers could find themselves in…”

Each international school is different and has their own rules about how they would like their school to be run.  It is important we share their differences with each other, thanks SirSolo!

Check out the British International School Shanghai profile page on International School Community.  Currently, there are 17 international schools listed in Shanghai on our website, with all 7 of them being schools that teach the U.K. curriculum.

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

The Taxi-Lives of International School Teachers

February 4, 2012


I imagine it’s raining. There are way too many substances in my blood, and I can’t separate my alterations. One moment I’m high as a kite flying on happy bliss, the next I’m weary and tetchy. Did I mention it’s raining? I’m just hardly on my feet – is it true that a giraffe’s offspring learns to walk just hours after it’s born? – If so, I haven’t advanced past my fetus state. It’s colder than yesterday when it was the coldest since the day before; I see where this is going. Then my savior is there. Just two steps away. And inside, relaxed on the backseat, the taxi drives away. The city and all its shining lights merge, as Amsterdam disappears in the background. There’s too much laughter, too many dogs barking, too much purple prose, women in barely nothing, and the men that haunt them. There’s the man selling Chinese proverbs, the woman selling flowers, selling madrigals, selling good time. I usually never take a taxi home, but sometimes nightlife just creeps under your skin, and you just need to get away, get somewhere, and get home. Shake off the cold, the night, the many impressions, the stale smell of balcony smokers, men in Nixon masks, and the women that admire them. And as the taxi stops right outside my door. I swear, next time I’ll take a bus. I won’t drink so much, and when I see the receipt from Taxi Company on my credit card statement, I won’t even remember the taxi ride home.

“I find the great thing in this world is, not so much where we stand, as in the direction we are moving.” Goethe.

I imagine it’s early morning. I’m in my newly ironed suit; my tie matches my polished shoes that match the brief case. There’s a taxi right in front of my compound. I get in, quietly give the driver my destination in English (though he doesn’t speak English very well at all), lean back, and start reading the newspaper. It’s mainly the financials, but I discretely smile at the candor of the comic strip. I never speak to the driver; he’s just here to get me from one destination to the next, smoothly with no major interruptions. It’s the easiest way to get around Shanghai. I sometimes take notion of the skylines, the people on the street, and the people in other taxis, but mostly I just read the paper. When I arrive at the international school that I work at, the driver opens my door, nods, and drives away. During the day there are several meetings around town, several of new taxi encounters, but the same customary every time.

“Life is like a taxi. The meter just keeps a-ticking whether you are getting somewhere or just standing still.” Lou Erickson.

I imagine I’m late again. I’ll just tell my friends, “I took a cab.” He’s Armenian; his mother’s mother was an immigrant, who used to live in the Bronx, where she opened a small bakery. His dad was a son of a gun. It’s right next to the Guggenheim. I order a martini and soup. Next stop: my publisher somewhere on Manhattan. Some gypsy cab tries to convince me he’s cheaper, but I know better. She’s from Kansas, not much of a talker, her sign says Ada Mae. She tries to hard to hide the fact she’s not a New Yorker, but I know better. There’s a party tonight at some loft in Soho, “it’s better than New Year, it’s close to the metro, but just take a cab, it’s safer.” It’s the pre-release-party, but some bookstore in Brooklyn has already started selling the book, so I take a cab there, just to see my book in the window. I ask the driver to hold, but he’s very impatient. I eat half a cupcake I buy in some small coffee shop, the décor is very vintage, and I get the address to this flea market in Greenwich Village. If I hail a cab quickly, I can make it before I go home and get dressed for the party. The driver driving me to Soho is from Iraq, I don’t remember his name, but he quoted Mahatma Ghandi, something about happiness and harmony. I only have a few drinks, small talk with an architect who’s designing a new super mall in New Jersey, the florist who did the decoration, my publisher’s ex-wife who just shared a cab with Meryl Streep (they were apparently going in the same direction) and a woman I think I’ve dated a couple years ago. We share a taxi home.

“And a big yellow taxi took away my old man. Don’t it always seem to go that you don’t know what you’ve got ‘til it’s gone. They paved paradise and put up a parking lot.” Joni Mitchell.

Go ahead and send a private message regarding “transportation and the taxi-life” to one of our members that is currently living in one of the many different cities around the world represented on our website. International School Community’s current members work at or have worked at 100 international schools! Check out which schools here and start networking today!

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ISCommunity Newsletters

International School Community Newsletter v2012.02 – 04 February, 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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ISCommunity Features

New features on International School Community #1: The new and improved School Profile Page!

January 31, 2012


International School Community’s goal is to have a website where the information that international school teachers want to know about is very easy to find.  Thus we are always working on improving the organization of our website and its features to better serve our members.

Recently, we have made some changes on our school profile page:

We now have 1083 (31 January, 2012) international school profile pages on our website.  On each school provide pages there are many, many different features and information.  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.

There are more improvements to come!

International School Community is indeed to new place to go to gather and share information about life at international schools.  Become a member of International School Community today!  You currently get 1 month of free premium access to our website when you sign up.  If you are already a member of International School Community, share what you know and submit some comments and information about the international schools you know about today!

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Member Spotlights

International School Community Member Spotlight #9: Annette Harvey

January 24, 2012


Every 1-2 monthsInternational School Community will highlight one of our members.  This month we interviewed Annette Harvey:

Tell us about your background.  Where are you from?

I am from Cheadle, Staffordshire in England.

How did you get started in the international teaching community?

A long term relationship had broken up and I felt I needed a change and wanted to be in a closer school 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.

PDO School Muscat: Fantastic colleagues, children and parents. A Beautiful, safe country. Swimming with turtles, umpiring the Omani hockey, even though I was a woman!Horizon School Dubai.Newton International School DohaShanghai Rego International School: great colleagues who have become friends. Again some wonderful, supportive parents and amazing children. Champagne brunches. My tailor who I miss greatly!

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

I am currently working atHaileybury Almaty in Kazakhstan. Having a traditional Kazakh Band play to all the pupils on the last day of the autumn term. Listening to their amazing music on unusual (for me) instruments; watching them move model animals with their instruments and watching the snow fall outside, just beautiful.

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

Location, salary, curriculum, benefits as I would never move to a school without medical insurance.

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

Hard work, but immensely rewarding.

Thanks Annette!  If you are a member ofInternational School Community and would like to be our next member spotlight,contact us here.  If we choose to highlight you, you will get a coupon code to receive 6 months free of premium access to our website!

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Discussion Topics

Discussion topic: Is your destiny in the international school community?

December 14, 2011


Are you thinking about starting in the international school community?  Do you know what you are really getting yourself into?  It is hard to know if you don’t have friends already in the International School Community.

We would like to highlight a blog entry from the T Tech Tips’ blog. This international school educator provides some great insight to the real lives of international school teachers and the decisions that we are faced with as we move around the world from school to school.

“It’s that time of year again in the international education world of contracts, decisions, and thinking about your future. Kim Cofino has a great post about finding the right fit…the right school. Whether you are an international educator or not it’s worth a read.  International Teachers are different…we’re weird….we don’t like stability, we like change and challenge. We like travel, culture and to be honest I think we all like just being different. If you’ve met an international educator you’ll know what I’m talking about. Countries, airports, and airlines are just common conversation.

But that’s us…..we live on year by year contracts, don’t try to make us sign a multi-year deal….cause that’s a deal breaker in itself (part of the reason we left Shanghai). We’re renegades, we’re individuals, and nobody is going to tell us where we’re going to live or that we can’t leave….cause we will just to prove you wrong. Yeah….International Educators are different. We expect open bars at conferences. We expect conferences to be in amazing locations. Borneo, Bangkok, Greece, Shanghai, Singapore, Egypt, Nice, etc. Yeah…..international conferences are rough.”

It is true that we (international school educators) are strange.  Most people’s families don’t lead lives like us.  My relatives all either live in the same city as each other or the city next to that city.  He is right in saying that we are living a wonderful live when the expectation is that we are sent to conferences in international locations around the world; that does not happen to teachers teaching in the public school system in the United States.  There was just a PYP conference in Malta and an ECIS conference in Lisbon this past October.  Many teachers from my school were attendees!

“And then there is the friendships you create. Deep meaningful friendships with people who become your family. My best friends little brother, who I’ve known since he was in 6th grade graduated from University as an elementary teacher and decided to try out the international teaching thing. His first posting has been Kuwait where he’s in his second year, meaning that he’s now having to decide whether to stay another year or decide if it’s time to move on. He wrote a blog post, a couple lately actually, talking about his decision and how attached one becomes to friends, a country and these amazing kids we have the honor of teaching. Some very reflective blog posts from a young teacher trying to figure out life, education, and the meaning of it all.”

It is tough to leave friends and your host country of 2-3 years. It is important to note forget the students that you will miss.  Not necessarily the individual students, but the general demeanor of the kids at the school.  One school I have been at had really “active” kids, another school had kids with less “personality.”  International school teachers must keep that in mind as they are thinking about moving on because you can’t just find the same kinds of student just anywhere.

“As I’ve done more consulting and conferences in the past two years people ask me quite often, “Where do you see yourself in 5 years?”

It’s a questions I honestly can’t answer because I don’t know where I see myself in 1 year. But here’s what I do know.

So this year when it came to deciding to sign contracts at ISB for another year we sat down with the administration to see if I could have my cake and eat it too. Could I work in a school with students and continue to consult and present? Three years ago we reached an agreement that allowed me to take days without pay up to 20% to do consulting. Which brought me to ISB in the first place. With a new contract season upon us it was time to see if we could come to an agreement again….and I’m happy to say we did.

Next year I’ll be on a 90% contract at ISB as the High School Technology & Learning Coordinator. So I’ve given up 10% of my contract to focus on following my recent passion of consulting and presenting.”

What a great opportunity to take your career to the next level!  I guess there is much flexibility in our jobs working at international schools.  For die-hard members of our international school community, it truly is hard to decide where you will be in five years.  Most of us plan year to year, maybe 2 years in advance.  Some international schools allow a year to year contract, others make you sign a two-year contract.  Either way, each year international educators always have a mini-plan in the back of their mind about where they would like to go next.  It is what excites us; the endless possibilities of where you can live and work.

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ISCommunity Newsletters

International School Community Newsletter v2011.08 – 10 December, 2011

December 10, 2011


Site Stats:
Current members: 195 ( 23)
School profiles
: 985 ( 30)
Blog entries
: 152 ( 25)
Posted comments & info
:
1677 ( 250)
Facebook likes: 118 ( 13)
Twitter followers: 206 ( 11)


School Profile Search Result #1:

Only on International School Community will you be able to search for the perfect international school for you. Utilizing the School Profile Search feature on International School Community, you can search for the perfect school using up to 8 different criteria.
Search Result #1

Criteria chosen:
1. Region of the world (All)
2. Curriculum (USA)
3. School Nature (Non-Profit)
4. No. of students (Medium: 300-700)
5. Country (All)
6. Year founded (16-50 Years Old)
7. Kinds of students (Mostly International)
8. Size of city (Medium: 750K-3 Million)

Check out the results of this example search on our blog!


New members:

·Gary Conomos
(North Pine Christian College)
·jltassie Anderson
(Anglo American School of Sofia)
·Jennifer Kim
(Korea International School)
·Becky Galvan
(A’takamul International School)
·Cory Greenberg
(Copenhagen International School)
·Damir Tejic
(International School of Beijing)


Current Survey Topic:

Vote here!


Member spotlight:


Jo Hughson

I worked at SRIS for three years. I taught Grade One and Grade Two in the time that I spent there. SRIS had a fantastic and diverse range of teachers that I felt privileged to work with. I learned a lot from them…”

Check out the rest of her interview on our blog here.  If you’d like to be one of our next member spotlights send us a message here.  Highlighted members will receive a coupon code for 6 free months of premium access!


v2011.08 – 10 December, 2011:

The holiday break is nearly upon us!  Is it cold where you live right now? It is for most people in the northern hemisphere.  There are though however some of us that are working in locations closer to the equator, and their weather must be quite nice right now.  Some of us farther away from the equator have already taken out our winter jacket and even have progressed to the “heavier” winter jacket this past week.

 

So, the big question is: Why did we choose to work here?  And that question is mostly directed towards the weather of your current location.  The local people where you are living probably say to you, “Out of all the places you could have chosen from (In their mind…Barbados, Thailand, Rome, etc.), how is it possible that you have chosen this cold, miserable place?  What they don’t realize is that some of us actually prefer to be in a place that has four distinct seasons.  Some of us like like the snow!

 

There are many reasons to move to another country: Money, Travel, Love, Career, etc.  We must be honest (not usually in an interview though) and admit that moving to another country based on its climate is very important for most international school teachers.  That is why International School Community has included a category under the City Section on the school profile pages about climate: Describe the city’s weather at different times of the year.  Here is an example:

 

Right now there are 38 comments and information that have been submitted in this category on a number of international school profile pages on our website.

Feel free to make your own searches (both close to the equator and farther away from the equator, depending on your preference!) for international schools based on your criteria on International School Community.  Members with premium membership are able to do unlimited searches on our website.  If you are already a member, you can easily renew your subscription on your profile page.  If you are not a member, become a member today and get 1 month free of premium membership.

With regards to our current members, International School Community’s members work at or have worked at 84 international schools! Check out which schools here.


Recently updated schools:

· 09 Dec  International School of Ouagadougou  (7 new comments)
(Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso)
“Settling-in allowance is 600 USD, you get around 2000 USD for a flight home every year. Other benefits are French lessons, a car loan and recruitment leave…”
· 09 Dec  Bahrain Bayan School (6 new comments)
(Isa Town, Bahrain)
“It is important to note that female teachers applying are unable to sponsor their dependent husband and children. The age limit for hiring is 58 years old. The school retirement age is 60, so they usually don’t hire people close to that age…”

· 08 Dec  The American School of Kinshasa  (4 new comments)
(Kinshasa, Congo, The Democratic Republic of the)
“TASOK is accredited by the Middle States Association of Colleges and Schools. The School was re-accredited in 2008…”

· 08 Dec  Dasman Model School (7 new comments)
(Kuwait City, Kuwait)
“The school offers a bilingual program for students in grades K to 12. DMS has a fully self-contained Special Needs Division within the main school…”

· 08 Dec  Thai-Chinese Int’l School Bangkok (7 new comments)

(Bangkok, Thailand)
“Tuition for 2 children studying at TCIS is free although there are annual student supply fees of Baht 15,000+ / child to be paid by teacher for education materials, PreK-Gr2 lunch/snacks, insurance upgrades, year books, ID card, and graduation…”

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


Recent blog entries:

· Out of the thousands of international schools, people ask me why did I choose to work here?
“One year you are thinking that Asia is the place for you to move to the following school year, but then suddenly you open your eyes and you are actually in South America…”

· Educators Overseas: Helping teachers secure a job teaching abroad.
“There are many ways to secure a teaching job at an international school.  The website Educators Overseas also offers such a service.  Here is what they have to say about their philosophy of helping candidates find the “right fit” in their search to teach abroad…”

· The Wonderful World of Int’l School Hiring Fairs: Lesson #4 – “Being yourself is better, come what may, than trying to be someone else.”
“Even worse is when you realize mid-interview that you are indeed not the “best fit” as you had hoped you would be for that international school you have been wanting to work at that in the city you really had been wanting to live in…”

· Great resource: Association of International Schools in Africa
“Curious about what international schools there are in Africa?  The Association of International Schools in Africa website has 100s of international schools listed that are found in many of the African countries…”

· Comments and information about salaries on International School Community #2 (Hangzhou Int’l School, American School of Bcn & Int’l School of KL)
“Our reps are in the process of renegotiation our salaries. It is a difficult time in Spain right now, so it is not likely we will get much of a raise. The board is focusing on…”


Recently added schools:


Requested schools to be reviewed:


This last month we have had visits from 73 countries around the world!

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Member Spotlights

International School Community Member Spotlight #7: Jo Hughson

November 20, 2011


Each month International School Community will highlight one of our members.  This month we interviewed Jo Hughson:

Tell us about your background.  Where are you from?
I am a true blue, dinky-di Aussie. I grew up in a beautiful beach side suburb called Mount Eliza, which is close to the Mornington Peninsula in Victoria. I wanted to be a teacher from a very young age, as I was inspired by many of my educators at school. I can remember the names of all of the teachers that taught me from Primary School through to Secondary School! After I finished my last year of school, I studied for 4 years at Deakin University and gained a Bachelor of Education. Following this, I taught in Australia for many years before embarking on a 3 year exploration of the world. During this time, I gained my first experiences as an international teacher and definitely acquired a thirst for life abroad. Upon my return to Australia, I married by boyfriend of 10 years (Ben) and we had 2 beautiful daughters (Eliza and Alexandra). After the birth of our children, we found that our finances were quite tight (because only Ben was able to work) and we started to consider our options….This is when we decided to follow in the footsteps of my husband’s parents and (try to) become teachers at international schools!

How did you get started in the international teaching community?
Ben and I decided to take a risk. We packed up our home in Melbourne and bought 4 return tickets to Shanghai. Luckily, my parents in law were already based in comfortable digs in Shanghai, so we were welcome to stay with them for as long as we needed to. Initially, I did some substitute teaching at Shanghai American School, Rainbow Bridge International School and Shanghai Rego International School. It’s the last school metioned (SRIS) where I finally got my big break! Thankfully (for me!), international schools can sometimes face staffing problems at awkward times of the year, and I just happened to be in the right place at the right time! One of the Grade One teachers needed to repatriate to the UK due to personal reasons and they needed an immediate replacement. SRIS very generously offered me an expatriate contract, which included a free education for my daughters and other fantastic benefits. I still consider myself to be very lucky to this day!

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 worked at SRIS for three years. I taught Grade One and Grade Two in the time that I spent there. SRIS had a fantastic and diverse range of teachers that I felt privileged to work with. I learned a lot from them and am very grateful to the people there that made my three years there such positive ones. My background before teaching at SRIS was mainly in the secondary sector, so the learning curve (teaching primary students) was an extremely steep one to stay the least! One of the best things about this school was the unpredictable nature of the job. No day was ever boring! There was always something interesting going on! I also gained enormous satisfaction through the time that I spent with my students and their parents, too! After 3 years at SRIS, I decided to leave for a couple of reasons but the main one was that it was too far from the area where we were living. I was offered a teaching position at Western International School Shanghai (WISS) as a Grade One teacher and this is my second year here. I am currently Head of Year and teach a wonderful class with extremely diverse backgrounds. This school is an IB world school from early years to graduation, so I have now gained invaluable experience as a PYP teacher. I love the PYP system and the fact that it promotes inquiry-based learning.  WISS is very unique in that it is the only school in Shanghai offering this educational programme and I feel privileged, once again, to be part of the solid team here.

Describe your latest cultural encounter in your current placement, one that put a smile on your face. 
Everyday that I spend in this city presents either a hilarious or bizarre cultural encounter….It’s just never ending. I am a huge fan of Chinglish- especially when it comes to clothes. Recently I went on an escalator that read ‘keep your legs, no running’ and I like the ‘deformed man’ toilet signs that I see a lot…. ‘

What are some important things that you look for when you are searching for a new position at an international school?
Firstly, it needs to be a country that interests me and that is safe. I am not interested in making a living in a country that is not stable and that doesn’t inspire me. I also like being in a country that is relatively close to Australia and preferably, in the same time zone! I am a bit of a foodie, so the area that I work needs to have an interesting and diverse range of restaurants and cuisine. I also need to mention that I like the cost of living to be low enough to allow me to save some money and finally, there need to be cities and countries nearby that I can explore during my time away from school!

In exactly 5 words, how would you describe the international school teaching experience?
Fascinating, exciting, lucrative, wide-ranging and addictive!

Thanks Jo!  If you are a member of International School Community and would like to be our next member spotlight, contact us here.  If we choose to highlight you, you will get a coupon code to receive 6 months free of premium access to our website!

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Recently Updated School Profiles

School profile highlights #10: Int’l School of Kuala Lumpur, Shanghai Rego Int’l School and Colegio Nueva Granada

November 17, 2011


Members of International School Community have written some new and informative comments and information on the following international schools:

International School of Kuala Lumpur (2 new comments) in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

New information or comment in the School section: “English is the primary language in the hallways. There are a number of EAL students, but are not the majority. The largest single cultural group is Korean (24%) but there is a cap of 25% per class year of any one particular cultural group, ensuring an international make up to the school community.”
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Colegio Nueva Granada (2 new comments) in Bogota, Colombia

New information or comment in the City section: “If you either speak or at least try to speak Spanish they will love you. It is a great city to learn the language and the people are very happy to speak to foreigners about their own countries, etc.”

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Shanghai Rego International School (6 new comments) in Shanghai, China

New information or comment in the Benefits section: “This year the school has given another option for housing. It’s a place called Royal Garden and everyone seems quite impressed with it! I’m still happy though with my own choice in the city but its good to have another option.”

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Highlighted Articles

Three Job Fairs, Three Jobs: An International Teacher Hiring Saga

October 13, 2011


Highlighted article from the Matador network: English teacher Amy Villagio shares about getting hired for international school jobs.

She talks about her experiences attending the UNI Overseas Recruiting Fair in Iowa.

Sections of the article that we would like to highlight:

“One of the hallmarks of the international teaching job fair experience is the sign-up period. This is somewhat akin to a cattle stampede. Tables are set up in a huge room arena-style, and candidates head to their top schools, turning in their invitation if they have one and signing up for a time slot, or turning on the sales pitch and angling to get into any remaining interview times. Beforehand you’ve done your country research, noted all available jobs in your subject area, and prioritized according to countries, schools, and assignments. Now it’s down to following your carefully mapped-out plan of which table to go to first.”

The sign-up period at international school recruitment fairs are tough. They are full of excitement and anticipation.  Waiting in lines with your potential competition is nerve-wracking.  The general idea is that the schools with the longer lines are the more desirable and better international schools to work at.  One time at a recruitment fair one of our staff went to the American International School Budapest was the school with the longest line.  Another time at the UNI fair one of our staff members noticed that Shanghai American School – Puxi was the winner of the longest line.  Somehow word gets around about these schools and all the candidates want the opportunity to work there.  These schools get to be really picky.  Just taking resumes at the cattle call and giving the message out: “We’ll call you if we would like to set up an interview.”  Sometimes it is very important to “carefully map-out” your plan of attack during this time of the recruitment fair.  If you are too slow to get to a school, their interview schedule will have already been filled with other candidate interview times.  Sometimes it is good to wait in line if that is the case.  Really though, most candidates goals should be to get as many interviews as possible as they tell you it is good interview practice going to interviews even if the school is not one that may or may not interest you.

“I interviewed with schools from Germany, Kuwait, Syria, and Thailand. Finally, I was down to my interview with the school in Cameroon. Here I got the hard sell – “I’m offering you the position, you’ve got about five minutes to decide, you’re my number one candidate, I’ve got other English teacher interviews after yours and I can’t guarantee this later on…I took it. Later I drove back to Colorado, racking up ridiculous cell phone charges calling friends and family and announcing in gleeful shock: “I’m going to Africa!”

The moment of “you have 5 minutes to decide” is an awesome feeling, even if being really stressful.  We have all been in moments when you future is on the brink of a big chance…all based on your one word answer “yes or no.”  Earlier in the article the woman in the article she stated that she was excited that she had received a request in her box to interview at one of her top schools that she wanted to go to in Eastern Europe.  Then throughout the crazy, up-and-down experience of the recruitment fair, she ended up take a job in Cameroon.  It is amazing how you can go from really wanting to go work at one international school to then accepting at job at a completely different one.  Unbelieveable!

“This time it was different – I was signed up with ISS, International School Services, and had purchased a bank-breaking ticket from Cameroon to Bangkok, plus reserved rooms at the Shangri-La. Administrators had access to my file beforehand, and started contacting me for interviews right away. With the advent of Skype and the often exorbitant expenses (did I mention I had already bought a ticket from Cameroon to Thailand?), fairs are quickly on their way to becoming obsolete.  An administrator from a little school in Kaohsiung, Taiwan, a city I’d never heard of before, and I started talking. Several skype interviews later, he offered me the position, and I took it.”

Thank goodness!  We are so happy to hear that Skype is making its way towards a new way to hire teachers at international schools.  Yes it is more ideal to meet in person with the people that are interviewing you.  Actually, it is more ideal if you can actually interview with the people from the school at their school!  However, Skype is the next best answer to this whole ordeal.  It is good for the environment and good for the pocket book for both parties involved.  Unfortunately, in this woman’s experience, she had already bought a plane ticket to go to the recruitment fair when she got the position after interviewing over Skype.  Oh well, you must always be prepared.  Sometimes there are sacrifices that you must be ready to deal with when you are on the hunt for your next job at an international school.

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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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Member Spotlights

International School Community Member Spotlight #6: Taylor Smith

September 14, 2011


Each month International School Community will highlight one of our members.  This month we interviewed Taylor Smith:

Tell us about your background.  Where are you from?
I am from Edinburgh, Scotland and am extremely proud of my roots.  A formal international swimmer, I travelled to many countries throughout the world as part of various swim teams.  However when I retired from swimming in 2006, I realised that I had been to lots of countries but in fact had never seen much more than the airport, hotel and swimming pool.  So I embarked on a career in Physical Education teaching with the dream of teaching abroad.

How did you get started in the international teaching community?
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 hesitation I packed my bags and made the biggest decision of my life (or so I thought at that point).  I was only in China a couple of months and I had thrown myself into work and made lots of new friends within the international teaching community.  People were all extremely helpful and made me feel as comfortable as possible in a very different environment.  In these weeks, I was also lucky enough to meet the love of my life, who two years on is now my beautiful wife.  Wow that was almost poetic!


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 worked at Shanghai Rego International School and have recently started at Garden International School in Kuala Lumpur.  Both schools are very different, mainly due to the size.  Rego was a small school and had an intimate feel, whereas Garden has a huge number of students, which creates an incredible atmosphere.  The bulk of my teaching thus far however, has been in China, and Rego school really did feel like (excuse the awful cliché) “a  family”.  Teachers had an enormous amount of freedom to explore new and creative ideas and they were well supported by parents and students.  There was definitely never a feeling of having to navigate the red tape like non-international schools.  In many ways it was a development curve that I honestly believe, I would not have experienced anywhere else.

Describe your latest cultural encounter in your current placement, one that put a smile on your face.
Moving to Kuala Lumpur from China brings many advantages.  Things are just a little bit more like home here I guess.  So the biggest smile on my face came when I was told I could take a loan to buy a car and it could be all done by the bank.  I was not forced to pay thousands of pounds in cash.  That is always a nice feeling.

What are some important things that you look for when you are searching for a new position at an international school?
I look for standard of living on the home front.  I think this is the most important thing to consider when living abroad. Also travel opportunity is very important, as being away from friends and family can be a strain.  Therefore it is always nice to know that it is easy to go home when you need to, and family are easily able to visit.

I also look for stability and reputation of the school.  There are many, many schools and it is important to know that you will be happy to work there for at least 2 years.


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

Eye opening, cultural, well paid, opportunity, life changing.  (5 statements so not exactly 5 words sorry! I am a PE teacher after all).

Thanks Taylor!  If you are a member of International School Community and would like to be our next member spotlight, contact us here.  If we choose to highlight you, you will get a coupon code to receive 6 months free of premium access to our website!

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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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Recently Updated School Profiles

School profile highlights #5: ASF of Guadalajara, Lycee Int’l School of LA and Shanghai Community Int’l School

June 19, 2011


Members of International School Community have written some new and informative comments on the following schools:


American School Foundation of Guadalajara (3 new comments):

New Comment: “ASFG has the second largest collection of books published in English among the private schools in Mexico.”

__________________________________________________________________________

Lycee International School of Los Angeles (2 new comments):

New Comment: “Students are taught to speak, read, and write both French and English, but the school aims to offer more than mere knowledge of the two languages. The policy is one of integration: young Americans must be integrated into French classes and French children must study English along with their American classmates.”

__________________________________________________________________________

Shanghai Community Int’l School (5 new comments):

New Comment: “SCIS has a faculty of 210 teachers who are fully licensed in their area of teaching. They come from the USA, Canada, England, New Zealand, Australia, and South Africa.”

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ISCommunity Newsletters

International School Community News v2011.02 – 7 June, 2011

June 9, 2011



v2011.02 – 7 June, 2011:
Well, the school year is winding down for most of us.  Some int’l schools are already out and some still have a month to go!  Either way summer is upon us and travel awaits.  Most of us go back to our home countries, some of us skip going “home” and explore new countries and then there are the few that stay in their host country to relax or because they have visitors coming.  Finally, there are the international educators that are moving on.   Lots of packing to do and shipping of boxes to their new destination.  Many will be taking a chance on a new school and new country; and a lucky few finally got a job to go work at their dream school in their dream country/city.

If you are moving on to live in a new destination, don’t forgot to update your member profile to show your new “current location” and your new “current school.”  Also, now that many of us have some more freetime on our hands, now is the time to share what you know by writing some new comments on the school profile page of the school you currently work at.


The offical launch promotion continues: All new members that sign up will automatically receive a free 1-month subscription of premium membership.  Make sure to forward this newsletter to your friends and colleagues so that they can also benefit from this promotion.  Current members can still benefit from this promotion.  Just sign-on and click on the My Account tab and then the renew your subscription link.  Use the coupon code “MESGRATIS” on the payment page (coupon code expires on 30 June, 2011)


New incentive program: Now when you submit comments on the school profile pages, you can earn coupon codes to receive up to 1 year free of premium membership access!  Putting-in 15-29 comments gets you 6 months free. Submitting over 30 or more comments will get you 1 YEAR FREE!  Please remember that the comments you submit on the school profile pages are anonymous, but we can keep track of which members write how many comments in our system.  Once we see you have submitted your comments, we will send you an email with a special coupon code to extend your current premium membership.


Site Stats
Current members: 74
School profiles: 778
Surveys: 3
Blog entries: 51
Pictures: 10
Posted comments: 221


Recent blog entries:

· Survey results are in – Which area of the world would you prefer to work in?
“it seems as if Western Europe is the top area of the world that internationals school educators want to live and work in….”
· Are students from one culture group “taking-over” certain international schools?
“Is it true that in most places in the world, where there are international schools, that there is many times a “dominant” culture group at each school…”
· Why do people leave international school teaching to go back to their own country?
“With regards to the single teachers, it seems that many of them move back to their home countries for reasons not necessarily related to money, but for love as well…”
· Highlighted article: Destinations and Dispositions (IKEA dependence)
“IKEA is indeed the best friend of international school teachers.  What a great friend too because…”
· It’s all about luck and timing: Getting the international school job of your dreams
“If you really want to live and work in a specific city in the world and there are only 2-4 jobs available at the two international schools there…”


Recently updated schools:

· International School of Ho Chi Minh City (6 new comments) (Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam)
“The school goes to a number of recruitment fairs during the hiring season. Many times they go to…”
· International School of Chile, Nido de Aguilas (4 new comments) (Santiago, Chile)
“The campus is in an area that is one of the newest and…”
· Beanstalk International Bilingual School (5 new comments) (Beijing, China)
“The expat teachers at this school are mostly from USA, Canada…”
· American Community School (Amman) (4 new comments) (Amman, Jordan)
“The last time we went through the re-accreditation process was back in 2006, so now…”
· Academia Cotopaxi (American International School) (6 new comments) (Quito, Ecuador)
“There is a variety of housing options, but most teachers rent apartments that…”
· American Academy for Girls (Dubai) (4 new comments) (Dubai, United Arab Emirates)
“The school prefers to hire single women. You need to have a minimum…”

(The last 40 schools to be updated)

Recently added schools:

Requested schools to be reviewed:


Member spotlight:


Noah Bohnen: “Colombia is truly a gem.  Having traveled to over 50 countries, there is no place quite like it.  When we were there, there were still very few tourists and you really felt like you were on a cultural frontier…”

 

*If you’d like to be one of our next member spotlights send us a message here.  If you are chosen to be highlighted, you will receive a coupon code to receive 6 months of premium access to our website for free!


New members:
Nicole Dolce (Lincoln School – Argentina)
Brian Lockwood (Nanjing Int’l School – China)
Allison Davis (Beijing BIBS – China)
Robin Doherty (Shanghai Rego – China)
Troy White (Amer. Int’l School of Cyprus – Cyprus)


New Survey Topic:

 


Vote here
!


Website updates:

We have added some more questions to the school and benefits sections of the school profile pages.  Many more updates are on the way, so stay tuned!


Highlighted Link
The International School Teacher is a forum/social networking/information gathering website designed for the international school teaching community.  The founder of this website is one of International School Community’s members: Troy White.


FAQ:
How do you figure out the population of each city?

We use the latest numbers from Wikipedia.   We also use the metro area population instead of just the city proper itself.   We thought it would give a better indication of the actual number of people that live in and around the city.


This last month we have had visits from 49 countries around the world!

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ISCommunity Newsletters

International School Community News v2011.01 – 10 May, 2011

May 26, 2011



v2011.01 – 10 May, 2011
The first International School Community newsletter has arrived!  First of all, we would like to thank all our current members for their support so far.  Many thanks go out to all those members that had a part in the development of this website.  International School Community strongly encourages for members to leave comments and submit their votes on the schools they currently work at or have worked at in the past.  We also encourage you to take a minute to update your member profile so that others will be able to network with you more easily.  Enjoy being an active member on this website and help yourself and others to continue on in the “International School Community.”

 


Current Promotion: All new members that sign up will automatically receive a free 1-month subscription of premium membership.  If you are already a member, you can still benefit from this promotion.  Just sign-on and click on the My Account tab and then the renew your subscription link.  Use the coupon code “1FREEMONTH” on the payment page, and you will automatically receive the free 1-month subscription of premium membership.  Make sure to forward this newsletter to your friends and colleagues so that they can also benefit from this promotion.


Recently updated schools (more):

  • Shekou International School (Shekou, China)
    “The campus is very beautiful, lots of nature. Many of the teachers live within walking distance from the school and have views of the ocean…”
  • Graded School Sao Paulo (Sao Paulo, Brazil)
    “Many other teachers choose to live in the trendier areas and take the school bus to work or combine public transportation with taxi rides (shared with other teachers)…”
  • Benjamin Franklin Int’l School (Barcelona, Spain)
  • Shanghai Community Int’l School
    (Shanghai, China)
    “There is one campus that is in Pudong and one in Puxi. From both campuses it takes about 30-40 minutes to get to the center of the city (to the Bund area)…”
  • Seoul International School (Seoul, South Korea)
    “The school uses current practices such as readers and writers workshop, and provides training if necessary in these areas. Teachers are required to stay until 5 on Mondays so a lot of this work can be done then.work can be done then…”
  • Hong Kong International School
    (Hong Kong, China)
  • Columbus School Medellin (Medellin, Colombia)
    “The school is basically on top of a mountain…”
  • American School of Barcelona (Barcelona, Spain)
    “Once you have your residency card, you are totally covered (within Spain) by the public healthcare system and everything is free…”
  • Shanghai Rego International School
    (Shanghai, China)
    “I have a housekeeper come and clean my apartment and do my washing/ironing 2 times a week for 5 hours total. I pay her 15 RMB an hour…”

Recently added schools:

Requested schools to be reviewed:

Recent blog entries:

Site Stats
Current members: 49
School profiles: 719
Surveys: 2
Blog entries: 27
Pictures: 10
Posted comments: 71


Member spotlights:
Clare Rothwell
“I enjoy the way students of different cultural backgrounds play together and include each other in games in spite of communication challenges.”

Christy Niemeyer
“It all started on New Year’s Eve 2003. I was talking with someone at a party whose sister was teaching in Malaysia. This person was telling me the exciting and lucrative life her sister was leading by working internationally…”


Website updates:
•The whole sign-up process has been revamped.
•The recently updated school profiles feature has been improved. Comment tidbits and map feature added.
•The map feature can now be enlarged on the school profiles pages.
•The survey section is now available to non-members.


Uploaded photos:
  Shanghai Rego International School (city section)
 American School of Barcelona (benefits section)


New Survey Topic:
Which area of the world would you prefer to work in?

Vote 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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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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Highlighted Articles

Countries Closing Their Borders: A Quick Decision to Get “Home”

March 15, 2020


Sharon (Pseudonym) and I arrived back in Shanghai yesterday morning, after a quick decision to return before it became difficult.

We travelled from Edinburgh and transited in Paris before on to Shanghai. In Edinburgh and Paris it was business as usual; no questions, no extra measures, nobody wearing masks. Until we got to the gate where we boarded the plane to Shanghai. Here the passengers were all masked up as were the crew. Masks were to be worn for the full 12-hour flight. Temperature checks were taken as we boarded, then again mid-flight and before landing. Blankets, pillows, headphones were not distributed due to containment measures. There was a seating area sectioned at the rear of the plane along with toilet facilities, for anyone who showed symptoms of COVID-19 during the flight. Before landing we completed paper and online health declarations.

On landing, we were held on the plane, and called off in batches. We stepped into a different world, where all airport staff were in body suits, masks, visors, gloves. The airport had been configured to create channels for passengers to move through with stops to revisit health forms, complete more information and do temperature checks. We then passed through immigration (which was super-quiet) before being guided to an area where we reported to a regional team. Again, more health declarations and information gathered before being escorted to pre-arranged pick-ups or to pre-arranged buses provided by the airport. During this process, we were awarded a sticker (green – yellow – red) which determined our next course of action. We were accompanied to a driver who was waiting for us, to continue our journey home.

When we arrived at our housing compound, we were greeted by a team of ten people, made up of a doctor, local health team and compound management. Again, health declarations and temperature checks, before being taken into our home and our quarantine commencing. As David (Pseudonym) lives in the house too, he has to undertake quarantine with us, or we would have been taken to a quarantine facility.

So, we are home now and will remain indoors for the next two weeks. We did an online shopping order which was delivered to the gates. Then the compound guards left it outside our door for us, texting us when it was clear for us to bring the goods inside.

There are two lenses to view this through: fear or safety.
Fear, due to the unpredictability of the situation, the rapidly changing climate and lack of control. I did have a couple of moments. One where I had one foot in the amusing rabbit hole of ‘This is what it probably felt like when trying to smuggle ET to his spaceship’, then the other of ‘What if Sharon and I get separated. How do I know where she may be? What would be happening/ what could be?’ The what-ifs were lurking, waiting to grab and sink their sharp little teeth in. Families were kept together through the process. There were staff available to speak different languages and although there was uncertainty, it was very efficient and organised.

This is a country where health is priority. Containment measures are put in place to ensure the health of all citizens. Social responsibility is empowered as we are required to put others first by undertaking quarantine, to avoid any possible contamination. Everyone is mobilised to do their part for the community. Do I feel scared? The unknown is always a little scary. Do I feel safe? Absolutely. I know that the virus is a priority and is being taken very seriously. The actions of the country reflect this.

If you are planning your return – some tips:
• Make sure you have your own headphones.
• Dress in layers – the plane was cold, the airport was hot.
• Have extra snacks and water with you so that you can keep the hanger away whist you wait to leave the plane/get home.
• Bring distractions for kids. Talk to them about how staff will be dressed in the airport and that there will be temp checks etc.
• Got to the toilet before you leave the plane. Facilities in the airport are on lock down.
• Carry wipes. It can get hot and a little uncomfortable in the heat as you wait.
• Do an online shop that can get delivered as you arrive home.
• If you do not have a thermometer at home, buy one before you return. You will need to report your temp if in quarantine.
• Be mentally prepared for quarantine, either at home or in a facility, and pack a few treats to help you through it all.

Safe travels…and stay positive! If you are alone, keep in touch with someone in Shanghai and don’t be afraid to reach out as you go through the process! A reassuring text is enough to keep you calm.

This article was submitted by an ISC member living in Shanghai, China

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Information for Members

The Total Comments in All the City Information Sections: 5518!

January 14, 2020


As all International School Community members know, each of the 2120+ 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 automatically get one free month of premium membership added on to your account!  The more comments you leave, the more free membership you get!

FOR UNLIMITED FREE MEMBERSHIP, BECOME A MAYOR OF A SCHOOL TODAY!

So, what are the recent statistics about the City Information sections on all the school profile pages?  The current total number of submitted comments in the City Information sections is 5518 (out of a total of 35256+ comments); up 1134 comments since February 2019.

There are 17 subtopics in the City Information section on each school profile page.  Check out each one of these subtopics below and find out out the total number of comments in that specific subtopic and also an example comment that has been submitted there.

• Name your favorite restaurants, favorite places to go to and favorite things to do in the city. (599 Total Comments)

Example comment: “Going to check out and relax in the church that was made in rock (Temppeliaukio) is a great things to do on a rainy (or sunny) day. They play relaxing music as you just sit in one of the pews and looks up to see the copper designed ceiling. So beautiful!” – Helsinki International School (Helsinki, Finland) – 41 Comments

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• Locations in the city geared towards the expat lifestyle (grocery stores, bars, etc.). (516 Total Comments)

Example comment: “Taipa has a lot geared towards expat. The local Park’n’Shop grocery store is full of imported things.” – The School of the Nations (Macao, China) – 20 Comments

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• Sample prices for food, transportation, average hourly rates for a housekeeper, etc. (525 Total Comments)

Example comment: “You could definitely get a good main dish at a nice restaurant for 6-8 EUR. The public transportation is free for the locals, but for tourists, it is .80 to 1.60 EUR a ride. Of course there are cheaper tickets, like days passes, etc.” – International School of Estonia (Tallinn, Estonia) – 22 Comments

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• Detailed info about lifestyles: singles vs. couples, gay vs. straight, nightlife vs. quiet and big city vs nature. (423 Total Comments)

Example comment: “If you like riding your bike around everywhere, there aren’t always the best bike paths in the city. In turn, you need to be alert at all times! With regards to nature, there are super green parks spotted all around the city center. There is also the Wisla river has some “beach” areas where people hang out on a warm day. It is a bit smelly there, but still nice.” – American School of Warsaw (Warsaw, Poland) – 143 Comments

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• Languages of the host city and the level of English spoken there. (533 Total Comments)

Example comment: “On a scale from 1 to 5, English level is somewhere around 3+. Not everyone speaks English, so knowing German is a big advantage.” – Zurich International School (Zurich, Switzerland) – 46 Comments

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• Sample activities that you can do around the city? Including ones that you can do with a family (children)? (373 Total Comments)

Example comment: “During the summer don’t miss out on Treptower park with Badeschiff (not good for those with children). There is an artificial tropical island not far away from Berlin and many people take their kids there during winter, or to Wannsee during summer. Should you want to go and do the recreational swimming, Berlin Bade Betrieb is there for you on numerous locations.” – Berlin International School (Berlin, Germany) – 12 Comments

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• Describe the city’s weather at different times of the year. (578 Total Comments)

Example comment: “Nov. 15 – March 15 is when the government heat is on in the apartments. That’s pretty much when temperatures are below freezing all the time. Over the weekend the weather changed to 5 – 10 degrees above freezing. Spring is about six weeks long. Then summer is hot.” – Tsinghua International School (Beijing) (Beijing, China) – 158 Comments

• Places, markets and stores where you can find really good deals. (266 Total Comments)

Example comment: “Walmart and Kalea (like Ikea) has just about everything you’ll need to set up house. El Martially in zona 14 sells used furniture but bring a Guatemalan friend to negotiate for you. You can also by hand-made furniture off the street very cheaply.” – The American International School of Guatemala (Colegio Maya) (Guatemala City, Guatemala) – 75 Comments

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• Describe a funny culture shock moment that you’ve had recently in this city. (122 Total Comments)

Example comment: “Babies and toddlers with open butt pants and shorts are always fun to see pee all over the place. Trying to cross the street without getting killed is fun as well.” – QSI International School of Dongguan (Dongguan, China) – 64 Comments

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• Where did the school take you in the city when you first arrived? What were some staff outings/party locations? (170 Total Comments)

Example comment: “When you first arrive, the school sets up a week-long itinerary. . .shopping at many shops, eating at a variety of restaurants. It’s one of the highlights of coming here. Many of the places seen during orientation are too expensive for people to return to often.” – The American School of Kinshasa (Kinshasa, Congo (DRC)) – 59 Comments

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What is the best part of living in this city for you? (268 Total Comments)

Example comment: “I love the ease of getting what you want, when you want.” – Hong Kong International School (Hong Kong, China) – 145 Comments

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What advice can you give on how to set things up like internet, phone, experience dealing with landlord, etc.? (224 Total Comments)

Example comment: “Internet’s been funky lately but that’s just the new reality in China at the moment. Nobody can do anything about it.” – Western International School of Shanghai (Shanghai, China) – 436 Comments

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• Tell your experience moving your items to this city. What company, insurance policy, etc. did you use? (89 Total Comments)

Example comment: “SOS International is a popular choice and you can use it at their clinics here. It’s pricey, though.” – Orchlon School (Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia) – 76 Comments

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• Tell about your experience with the local banks and dealing with multiple currencies. (228 Total Comments)

Example comment: “Most local banks charge $10-$20 for an account. The government now also charges 10% of any fees charged by the bank. Most banks then charge you 1% to withdraw dollars, even if you have a dollar account. This is because their exchange rate is horrible, so people take out the money in dollars then walk to an exchange bureau and get a much better rate. IST has a few agreements in place so that the first $1000 a month does not get charged the fee. Other than that, the banks are okay. Nothing to write home about and you have to watch for random fees, but you can usually get it sorted. Some people just use overseas accounts and you can get money from the ATM, but people often find thousands of dollars missing from accounts when they do that.” – International School of Tanganyika (Dar es salaam, Tanzania) – 171 Comments

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• What are some locals customs (regarding eating, drinking and going out, family, socializing, etc.) that you find interesting for expats to know about? (157 Total Comments)

Example comment: “When you receive something in person, from somebody else, it is best to take it using both hands, not just one. Do it with two hands to show respect and appreciation.” – Hong Kong Academy (Hong Kong, China) – 67 Comments

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• Tell about your experiences in the local grocery stores. What can you get or cannot get? Which ones are your favorites. (192 Total Comments)

Example comment: “If you are from an Asian country I would suggest finding an H Mart. The Buford Highway farmers market has country specific named aisles with all of the countries. The Dekalb farmers market has a lot of unique fruits (think durian) and vegetables that you won’t find in a typical grocery store as well. All of these markets are worth a visit, especially the Dekalb Farmers Market (don’t go on a weekend!) and are huge.” – Atlanta International School (Atlanta, United States) – 31 Comments

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• What is the most challenging/difficult part of living in the city? (255 Total Comments)

Example comment: “The Spanish spoken here is very difficult to understand. There is a lot of slang and people speak very fast.” –Santiago College (Santiago, Chile) – 24 Comments

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Information for Members

‘Where Our Members Have Worked’ update: Check out the latest stats!

January 2, 2020


Our 17847 current members (up 3500 members from December 2018) work at or have worked at 1200+ international schools.

How amazing is that?!  In just over nine years now, our “international school community” has grown into an excellent network of international school teachers.  With so much experience and knowledge about life working at over 1200 international schools on our website, the other members are able to stay updated and informed about the schools at which they are interested in working.  Additionally, now it is even easier to find the right members to contact for networking purposes and for gathering more information about the specific questions you may have about working at a certain international school.

Which international schools on our website have the most members you ask?  Here are our top 10 schools:

American International School in Egypt
(27) members

Copenhagen International School
(23) members

Western International School of Shanghai 
(22) members

International School of Kuala Lumpur
(22) members

International School Manila
(21) members

Jakarta Intercultural School
(19) members

MEF International School (Istanbul)
(19) members

Seoul Foreign School
(19) members

International School of Tanganyika
(18) members

Brent International School Manila
(17) members

Want to see the rest of the top 40 list of schools with the most members?  Check out this page which displays the names and avatar pictures of each member that either currently works at that school now or has worked there in the past.

So take a moment to browse our School list page, over members have worked at over 1200 international school from all over the world. Maybe you will find that we have some members who know about the international school about which you are looking to gain more information.

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Information for Members

The total comments in all the Benefits Information sections: 10704!

November 25, 2019


As all International School Community members know, each of the 2110+ school profile pages on our website has four comments and information sections: School Information, Benefits Information, City Information and Travel Information.  Our members are encouraged to submit comments and information on one or all of these sections if they currently work at an international school or have worked at one in the past.  It is important that we all share what we know so that we can in turn help other new teachers make a more informed decision before they sign any contract! *Additionally, for every 10 comments you submit (which are anonymous by the way), you will automatically get one free month of premium membership added on to your account!  The more comments you leave, the more free membership you get!

So, what are the recent statistics about the Benefits Information sections on all the school profile pages?  The current total number of submitted comments in the Benefits Information section is 10704 (out of a total of 34612+ comments); that is up 6082 comments from around 12 months ago (Nov. 2018).

Example Benefits Information page on KIS International School (Bangkok)
(316 total comments) Bangkok, Thailand

There are 20 subtopics in the Benefits Information section on each school profile page.  Check out each one of these subtopics below and find out out the total number of comments in that specific sub topic and also an example comment that has been submitted there.

• Average monthly salary after taxes and in what currency (explain taxation situation). How often do you get paid throughout the year? (1269 Total Comments)

Example comment: “Salary is paid regularly each month directly into your bank account which the school will help you set up. It is paid in $US…” – Northbridge International School (Phnom Penh, Cambodia) – 59 Comments

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• Details about the staff housing or the housing allowance. If there is no housing allowance, how much are rent costs and utilities? (1279 Total Comments)

Example comment: “Rent prices went up all over Shanghai in the past 1-2 years and even places near the school cost more now, as landlords start seeing that there’s many expats in the area willing to pay more…” – Western International School of Shanghai (Shanghai, China) – 433 Comments

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• Average amount of money that is left to be saved. (672 Total Comments)

Example comment: “A teaching couple could easily live and travel on one salary and save 100% of the other.  Savings opportunity is obviously significantly less on one salary, but still possible…” – Singapore American School (Singapore) – 256 Comments

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• Detailed info about flight, shipping and settling-in allowances. Any other benefits (e.g. free lunches, etc.)? (1134 Total Comments)

Example comment: “$4000 per teaching couple moving allowance (once you arrive in cash), optional $10,000 loan from school interest free (to buy car), annual flights home…” – American International School of Lagos (Lagos, Nigeria) – 21 Comments

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• Health insurance and medical benefits. Describe your experiences using these benefits and going to the local hospitals. (980 Total Comments)

Example comment: “Teachers must pay for their own health insurance here as Switzerland doesn’t have a social health care program model. Some of the staff’s partners are actually the local doctors in Leysin, so expect to get seen or have your children get seen by them..” – Leysin American School (Leysin, Switzerland) – 72 Comments

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• Ways to make extra money (tutoring, after-school activities, etc.). (433 Total Comments)

Example comment: “As the April 6, 2016 comment below states, there are many opportunities for increasing your monthly pay. Other than that, it is illegal to work for anyone but your visa provider (the school) in China. Lots of teachers tutor or work otherwise on the side anyway, but it is illegal.” – Kang Chiao International School (Kunshan, China) – 81 Comments

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• Information about benefits for teachers with dependents. (755 Total Comments)

Example comment: “Teachers with dependents need to pay some fees. These vary and are at the discretion of the school so they could conceivably become higher each year. They do not like to hire people with dependents.” – MEF International School Istanbul (Istanbul, Turkey) – 160 Comments

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• Professional development allowance details. (534 Total Comments)

Example comment: “The PD allowance allows you to travel and pay for one IB workshop (or any conference) per year. Or you can do two IB online workshops…” – The International School of Dakar (Dakar, Senegal) – 181 Comments

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• Pension plan details. (610 Total Comments)

Example comment: “It is not a pension. Due to Brazilian law, each teacher pays 8% of their salary each month into a guarantee fund. This is more or less an unemployment insurance. At the end of your contract, the school agrees to “fire” you, so you can access that fund. Based on the exchange rate at that time, it can vary in USD. At the beginning of my contract is was estimated around $12,000. But, now it will be much closer to $7,000. There is no way to know how much it will actually be in the end.” – American School of Belo Horizonte (Belo Horizonte, Brazil) – 78 Comments

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• Describe your experience bringing pets. (259 Total Comments)

Example comment: “Some teachers bring their pets from the USA (and other countries like UAE and Qatar). Some do it via the airlines or a pet relocation service. You need to make sure you pet has their up-to-date shots and whatnot to avoid certain delays and hassles along the way. The shorter your flight to Egypt the easier it might be to get your pet to Egypt.” – American International School in Egypt (Main Campus) (New Cairo City, Egypt) – 62 Comments

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• Explain how salaries are decided (e.g. is there a pay schedule? extra step for masters degree? Annual pay raises? Bonuses?). (542 Total Comments)

Example comment: “Each teacher is paid differently. No pay scale. Some teachers with lots of experience paid less than teachers with little experience. Men get paid more than women…” – American School of Durango (Durango, Mexico) – 39 Comments

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• How do the school’s benefits compare to other international schools in the area/city? (332 Total Comments)

Example comment: “The pay is lower than other international schools in the area but the school fees are also lower. It is the mid range between the “posh” international schools and the ones that don’t hire internationally trained teachers.” – Ican British International School (Phnom Penh, Cambodia) – 74 Comments

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• How is the school calendar? Is there ample vacation time? (517 Total Comments)

Example comment: “Point of contention. Clearly we are in a Muslim country so we have to abide by the holidays, but as Ramadan keeps pushing up 2 weeks every year, so does Eid (which usually falls in the first term. But we are in one of those awkward times where Eid is falling the first week of school so that means no break from the start of school until December. There is only one week at xmas this year, because we have to make sure to finish school around the start of Ramadan, it will be too hot to come to school while the kids (majority) will be fasting or they just won’t attend school. We will still have a week in Feb and a week in April. No long weekends here. 3 months off for summer.” – Qatar Academy (Sidra) (Doha, Qatar) – 97 Comments

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• What are some things that you need to buy/pay for when you first arrive at the school that you didn’t know about beforehand? (276 Total Comments)

Example comment: “If you have a pet you have to pay an extra deposit to the landlord, not covered by school…” – Pechersk School International (Kyiv, Ukraine) – 162 Comments

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• Details about the maternity benefits of the host country and school. (139 Total Comments)

Example comment: “Women get 12 weeks at 80% pay. She can take more time off, but without pay and at the business’ discretion. I think men don’t get any time off to be with their newborn.” – Zurich International School (Zurich, Switzerland) – 46 Comments

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• What is the process of getting reimbursed for things? (179 Total Comments)

Example comment: “Fill out a simple form, submit the receipt, and the money is deposited into your account after the purchase has been approved. If you are concerned as to whether or not you will be reimbursed, seek out approval first. I have never been turned down.” – Daegu International School (Daegu, South Korea) – 25 Comments

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• Details about new teacher orientation. (212 Total Comments)

Example comment: “We were picked up at the airport by a school driver who drove the Superintendent there to meet us. We were taken directly to our house, and someone had purchased some staple foods for the refrigerator. There were new towels, sheets and pillows. Other teachers/admin in the neighborhood came to greet us that evening and brought over hot food for dinner. It was an excellent welcome. We immediately felt very much at home…” –Lahore American School (Lahore, Pakistan) – 175 Comments

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• In general, why are people staying at or leaving this school? (320 Total Comments)

Example comment: “Everyone leaves because the salary scrap and administration is crap. If you had any moral integrity you would also leave after a week.” – Colombo International School (Colombo, Sri Lanka) – 64 Comments

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• Details about the teaching contract. What important things should prospective teachers know about? (209 Total Comments)

Example comment: “Read carefully. 3 page contract is very vague and WILL be used in favor of the administration against you. Expect them to try and keep as much of your money as they can. Hence the 2 month salary withholding which you are assured you will get at back end of contract. This does not usually come to fruition.” – Pan Asia International School (Bangkok, Thailand) – 69 Comments

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• Information on trailing spouses. Can they work under spousal visa (also availability of work) or is it possible to live only on one salary? (53 Total Comments)

Example comment: “Trailing spouses can only be sponsored if you are earning a certain amount. It is not very easy to get a job in some professionals; however, this might change soon with the sponsorship system changing often as we near the World Cup 2022.” – The English Modern School (Doha) (Doha, Qatar) – 64 Comments

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Information for Members

All of ISC’s Many Unique Features

November 4, 2019


So many prospective international school teachers are always looking to answer these two questions: “What is it like working at XXX school?” and “What is it like living in XXX country/city?”

It is not so easy though to find answers to these questions.

At ISC, our mission is to show that information to these prospective international school teachers in a clear, easy to find format that is hopefully very informative to them.

But we don’t just stop there, we have added many unique features that make finding their answers faster, more interesting and fun. In this article, we would like to give an overview of the many unique features that ISC has to offer to its premium members.

School Comparison: School vs. School

Around two years ago, our dream came true when we launched our School Comparison page.

We placed each school’s submitted comments side by side, so that our members could make an easy comparison. It is a common request to know “which school is better?”, especially if you are considering two job offers at two sometimes very different schools.

The School Comparison page does just that. It places two schools “against” each other to see which one comes out on top. We are not aware of another website that does this!

Compare School Salaries

The number one thing prospective teachers want to know about is “How much money will I make working at XXX school?”

Why then is it almost impossible to find information about salaries before you are offered the position?

Yes, we have 1000s of comments about the salary details of 100s of international schools on the ISC website. However, we took it further and made a unique page so that our members can compare these school salary details side by side with other schools. If you are considering working in Shanghai, China, you can now easily search for only schools in Shanghai on this page and quickly compare which school has the better salary package for you.

School Vacancies History

Many website deal with posting job vacancies at international schools, but ISC has brought this to the next level as we leave expired vacancies on our website so that you can see which vacancies has been posted on a specific school over time.

If you really want to work at a specific international school and you see that they have recently hired your position during the last school year, it could give you some more insight about whether that position will be available for the next school year.

Comment Search Feature

Only ISC allows its members to search for specific comments. We have over 34000 comments that have been submitted on 1100+ international schools, but sometimes you just want to search for specific comments on a number of international schools, especially if you are open to working at a number of international schools in different parts of the world.

If you are looking for a school that often hires teaching couples, you can easily search those keywords to find 100s of comments related to that topic. Or if you are a single international school teacher, you might want to search these keywords as well to see which schools that might discriminate against single teachers and that prfioritize hiring teaching couples.

ISC actually has even more unique features, but here are four that really make our website standout. Of course, new features are always in the works. If you have a suggestion for another feature for the ISC website, contact us here. Otherwise, stay tuned for more unique features in the near future.

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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

Total comments in all the Travel Information sections: 2137!

August 18, 2019


As all International School Community members know, each of the 2098+ 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 automatically get one free month of premium membership added on to your account!  The more comments you leave, the more free membership you get!

FOR UNLIMITED FREE MEMBERSHIP, BECOME A MAYOR OF A SCHOOL TODAY!

travel

So, what are the recent statistics about the Travel Information sections on all the school profile pages?  The current total number of submitted comments in the Travel Information sections is 2137 (out of a total of 32776+ comments); up almost 458 comments since July 2018.

There are 6 subtopics in the Travel 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 subtopic and also an example comment that has been submitted there.

Sample travel airfares from host city airport to destinations nearby. (352 Total Comments)

Example comment: “You can fly mostly anywhere in Europe from Berlin. Unfortunately there has been a new airport in construction for many years now with no real outlook on when it will be complete. You have to connect elsewhere to fly internationally (i.e Copenhagen, Paris, London, Reykjavik etc.)” – Berlin Cosmopolitan School (Berlin, Germany) – 72 Comments

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Describe proximity of major airport hubs to the city center and give sample taxi, train, subway and/or bus fares to get there. (492 Total Comments)

Example comment: “Narita International Airport is the most convenient in terms of distance, parking, and bus connections. It is approximately 45-50 minutes by car on the highway (tolls are about $12 or $13 USD each way), 75 minutes by car by more local roads, and about an hour by bus ($25 USD). Haneda Airport in Tokyo is further away from Tsukuba and more conveniently reached by a combination of the Tsukuba Xpress and Tokyo subways (90 to 120 minutes and $18 to $25 USD, depending on the various options and combinations). There is also the more local Ibaraki Airport (which has free parking) about 45 minutes from town, but flights are very limited and only include a few destinations within Japan (such as Kobe, Fukuoka, Naha and Sapporo) and Shanghai and Seoul (and sometimes Taipei by charter flights) internationally.” – Tsukuba International School (Tsukuba, Japan) – 41 Comments

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Popular travel websites to buy plane tickets or tours that are popular for expats living in the city and/or country. (237 Total Comments)

Example comment: “My Switzerland is a very comprehensive and informative website for locals and expats. which provides a wide breadth of information.
https://www.myswitzerland.com/en-ch/home.html” – Zurich International School (Zurich, Switzerland) – 46 Comments

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Places to travel to outside the city by bus or train. (445 Total Comments)

Example comment: “Expatriate teachers are recommended to not use public transit. The school recommends hiring a school driver to drive us to our desired destination using the car the school provides us. School drivers for a very reasonable rate. If there is a place you want to go, ask the head of security and he will check to ensure it is safe to travel to your desired destination.” – Lahore American School (Lahore, Pakistan) – 116 Comments

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Are there many teachers that travel during the holidays? Where are they going? (284 Total Comments)

Example comment: “It truly depends on the teacher and their own personal situation. Many younger, single teachers will travel during breaks. Usual destinations are somewhere around east our southeast Asia. Teachers who are married with children will stay in Korea many times. During summer break, most teachers will go to their home country.” – Korea Kent Foreign School (Seoul, South Korea) – 22 Comments

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What are the airports like in this city? (arriving, departing, shopping, customs, etc.) (327 Total Comments)

Example comment: “Queues at immigration can be very very very long. (between 15 min and 1.5 hours of waiting) Just make sure you have some battery left on that phone of yours! ;-)” – Dulwich College Beijing (Beijing, China) – 28 Comments

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Information for Members

Which Regions of the World Have the Most Comments on ISC?

February 4, 2019


Finding comments and reviews on the schools we want to know about is a top priority for most ISC members.  We have a number of features on our website that help our members do just that!

Using the School Search feature on the ISC website, members can specifically search only for the international schools that have had comments submitted on them. All members need to do is use the filter feature + tick the “schools with comments” box. Here are current results we got (from 4 Feb. 2019) along with five random schools from that region:

Asia: 63 Schools

American International School Dhaka (60 total comments)
American Embassy School New Delhi (39 total comments)
Good Shepherd International School (409 total comments)
Kodaikanal International School (53 total comments)
Indus International School (Pune) (43 total comments)

Caribbean: 23 Schools

The Codrington School (Int’l School of Barbados) (70 total comments)
Somersfield Academy (44 total comments)
The Bermuda High School for Girls (41 total comments)
International School St. Lucia (West Indies) (21 total comments)
International School of Havana (20 total comments)

Central American: 31 Schools

International School Panama (49 total comments)
Lincoln School (San Jose) (41 total comments)
Marian Baker School (33 total comments)
The British School of Costa Rica (31 total comments)
The American International School of Guatemala (Colegio Maya) (75 total comments)

most comments

Central/Eastern Europe: 64 Schools

International School of Belgrade (59 total comments)
Anglo-American School of Moscow (69 total comments)
Wroclaw International School (46 total comments)
American School of Warsaw (114 total comments)
International School of Latvia (33 total comments)

East Asia: 208 Schools

Canadian International School (Hong Kong) (139 total comments)
Concordia International School (Shanghai) (175 total comments)
Hong Kong International School (136 total comments)
Kang Chiao International School (Kunshan) (81 total comments)
Keystone Academy (94 total comments)

most comments

Middle East: 145 Schools

American International School of Kuwait (74 total comments)
International College Beirut (121 total comments)
Awsaj Academy (43 total comments)
Qatar Academy (Doha) (61 total comments)
Dhahran Ahliyya Schools (77 total comments)

North Africa: 39 Schools

Alexandria International Academy (79 total comments)
American International School in Egypt (62 total comments)
Cairo American College (155 total comments)
Misr American College (53 total comments)
George Washington Academy (46 total comments)

North America: 48 Schools

American School Foundation of Guadalajara (111 total comments)
American School Foundation of Mexico City (72 total comments)
American School Foundation of Monterrey (93 total comments)
International High School of San Francisco (37 total comments)