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13 Insightful International School Interview Experiences Submitted by Our Members

October 21, 2016


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Blogs of International Teachers

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

October 18, 2011


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

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

Entries we would like to highlight:

My Journey to Work

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

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

Lessons from outside the ballet class

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

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

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

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Highlighted Year for Int’l Schools

International schools that were founded in 1985 (Copenhagen, Tehran, Istanbul & Riyadh)

July 13, 2012


Random year for international schools around the world: 1985

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

Utilizing the database of the 1238 (13 July, 2012) international schools currently listed on International School Community, we found 10 international schools that were founded in 1985 (excepts about their founding are taken from the schools’ websites):

Atlanta International School (4 Comments) (Atlanta, USA)

1985 AIS was founded by a group of parents, international educators and members of the business community whose aim was to provide the Atlanta area with the kind of international educational opportunities found in major cities throughout the world. Support from major corporations and public figures was obtained because of the school’s importance in the development of Atlanta as the premier international city in the southeastern United States.”

Al Hekma International School (9 Comments)  (Sanad, Bahrain)

“Al- Hekma International School (AHIS) is a co-educational international school offering an American curriculum to classes from Preschool through High School (PS-Grade 12). The school was founded in 1985 and is fully accredited by the Bahraini Ministry of Education and the Middle States Association for Accreditation of Colleges & Schools (MSA) in the U.S.A. AHIS is also affiliated with worldwide recognized educational institutions, that provide professional development and support for improvement and growth such as (NESA, NBOA, ASCD, AAIE, PTC, NAIS). Students in high school are also trained and tested to receive ICDL certificates through the schools accreditation with ICDL organization to provide students with the latest computer skills required for the future.”

A’takamul International School (0 Comments)  (Al-Rumaithiya, Kuwait)

“A’Takamul International School (ATIS) was founded in 1995, with our first graduating senior class in 2002. ATIS strives to provide a high quality international education based on the American-curriculum, while maintaining an Islamic ethos and Kuwaiti values. ATIS is a private, independent college preparatory school, and we enroll students from pre-Kindergarten through 12th grade. Students are encouraged to take part in as many different school activities as possible and to excel in all of their endeavors. ATIS is a member of Kuwait Foreign Schools Activities Conference (K.F.S.A.C.) and participates in sporting events throughout Kuwait.”

International School of Stuttgart (6 Comments)  (Stuttgart, Germany)

“The International School of Stuttgart, founded in 1985, is a co-educational, English-medium day school, serving the needs of the international community of the state capital of Baden-Württemberg in Germany.”

Stafford International School (3 Comments)  (Colombo, Sri Lanka)

“Founded in 1986 as an independent and private educational institute, Stafford is a coeducational, international school. It follows the British curriculum which prepares the students for the London University IGCSE and Advanced (A/S, A/L) Level examinations. High performance in these British exams qualifies students for entry into British and other foreign universities. The curriculum is stringent and comprises a broad and balanced range of subjects.”

Chaing Mai International School (5 Comments)  (Chaing Mai, Thailand)

“Missionaries returning to work with the Church of Christ in Thailand (CCT) after World War II established a school for their children in Chiang Mai. Classes began on June 1, 1954 with eight students. In 1958, construction was begun on the present campus for “The Chiang Mai Children’s Center.” As more expatriate families moved to Chiang Mai and sought an English-language education for their children they, too, were accepted at the school.

In 1984, representatives of the Thai Foreign Ministry and the CCT agreed that the formal establishment of an international school in Chiang Mai was a necessary step to achieving the school’s legal status. Classes under the new name, “Chiang Mai International School” (CMIS) began in September of 1985 for Kindergarten to Grade 8. High School grades were progressively added from 1992 to 1995.”

The International Philippine School in Riyadh (IPSR) (0 Comments)  (Riyadh, Saudi Arabia)

“ The school originally started in the mid 1950’s with about a dozen pupils. It was government run, and was housed in a succession of buildings in Central Honiara. By the early 1970’s the need for a new school was recognized, and in the later half of the 1970’s, a new Woodford School project was included in the Solomon Islands National Development Plan. This project recognized “That a primary educational system offering a curriculum meeting international standards is a critical infrastructure requirement necessary to support Solomon Islands objectives of attracting investment and technical expertise.”

ISTEK Schools, Istanbul (8 Comments)  (Istanbul, Turkey)

“The İSTEK Education and Cultur Foundation was established in Istanbul on the 5th April, 1985 by a group of  eminent persons and institutions on the initiative of the former mayor of the municipality of greater  İstanbul, Mr.Bedrettin Dalan. It is an educational trust, aims to develop productive, creative and responsible  attitudes in individuals while adopting the principles and reforms of Atatürk. Working in national and  international contexts, aiming to make positive contributions to both the country and the world’s future,  and giving priority to scientific thought defines İSTEK as a foundation apart.

We currently operate ten K-12 schools and three separate kindergartens. In 1996, the Foundation also  established a university, Yeditepe University, which has now grown to become Turkey’s biggest university.  The Medical Faculty of the University runs one of the top rated hospitals in the region as well as  ophthalmology clinics. The School of Dentistry has a hospital on the Asian side and a clinic on the European  side of the city.”

Amager’s International School (0 Comments)  (Copenhagen, Denmark)

“AIS was founded in 1985 by teachers and parents who where concerned about the decline of educational standards.  It is located on the island of Amager (Copenhagen) which is joined to the mainland of Zealand in Denmark.”


Tehran International School (0 Comments)  (Tehran, Iran)

“T.I.S was established in the year 1985 with the goal to build educational links to other countries and render educational services to foreign students in Iran . Since its establishment, the school has been continuously involved in the educational progress where numerous foreign students are continuing their education in much the same manner as in their previous schools with most satisfactory results.”
Check out the rest of the international schools listed on International School Community and check out their histories as well!  We have over 1238 international schools that have profile pages on our website.

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Highlighted Articles

Highlighted article: Teaching abroad in American and International schools

January 10, 2012


There are literally hundreds of overseas schools offering employment opportunities for those wishing to move abroad or those who find themselves in a foreign location in search of work. The first thing one must realize is that there are generally two classifications of employees at most schools: local hire expatriates (as opposed to host country national) and overseas hires. This is an important distinction to remember.

Local hire status usually brings with it (but not always) the same salary as overseas hire (O/H) but without the benefits such as housing, airfare, etc. It is intended to take advantage of the fact that many qualified teachers arrive at post accompanying their spouse and thus receive housing and airfare as part of their family status, saving the school money. Anyone contemplating moving abroad to teach is advised to secure a job before moving: it makes a big difference in living standard. On the other hand, if someone needs experience and would not be competitive as an O/H, it may be easier to find a job on a local hire basis and later parlay the experience gained to O/H status at another school.(Most schools will not change someone’s status once hired.)

Schools determine the ratio of local to overseas hires based on how many qualified candidates areavailable locally, but the better schools keep quality the first priority. They like to maintain a surplus of local applicants to fill in as substitute teachers and when unexpected vacancies occur during the year. School directors eagerly welcome new local talent. While teaching qualifications and experience for local hires are mandatory at most schools, expediency rules at others and it is possible to work one’s way into a full time teaching job through experience substituting or working as a teacher’s aide. In fact, volunteering is a great way to become known and first in line when a job opens.

Applying from overseas, however, the applicant needs to have at least a BA/BS degree, a teaching credential and at least two years experience to be considered. There are many more applicants than jobs available and it is not uncommon for a school to have twenty to one hundred applications for each vacancy. A single parent with dependents does not stand much of a chance, nor does a retired teacher looking for an overseas experience. Schools prefer to hire teaching couples with no dependents, though most schools will hire couples with children and a few will hire singles with dependents. Almost all will hire single teachers if they cannot find couples.

Anyone applying will need to carry excellent recommendations, be healthy and energetic and willing to work in the after- school program. Flexibility and adaptability are key attributes for successful candidates. Prior experience living abroad or at least foreign travel and knowledge of another language are helpful. The bottom line is expertise as a teacher and love of kids and if an interviewer discerns that in a candidate, a contract offer is likely.

So, how does one apply to teach overseas?

The better schools insist on an interview if at all possible, although they will hire through one of the major recruiting agencies if they have vacancies at odd times of the year. Schools which have a high percentage of host country national students or that tend to have lower salaries may hire on the basis of correspondence and could be targeted by inexperienced teachers. Beware, however, that salaries in such schools might be at the subsistence level and working conditions less than ideal. Most international schools are exceedingly reputable: a handful are not, so investigate carefully.

Applying directly to the better schools is a good way to establish contact, but most successful candidates use recruitment agencies which arrange Recruitment Fairs that attract anything from 20 to 140 or more schools for 3 to 4 days of marathon interviewing. A cycle has emerged as follows:

September: the candidate selects and contacts a recruitment agency to register
October/November: references are submitted and a dossier created.
December: the candidate is advised if they are accepted.
February: interviews take place at recruitment fairs. Some contracts are offered on the spot.
March/April: more contracts are consumated.
May/June: a few more recruiting fairs open for schools to fill last minute vacancies.
July/August: recruitment agencies are requested to fill final vacancies

There are several major sources to choose from:

Search Associates: PO Box 2007   Minden, NV 89423    Telephone (775) 267-3122  Fax (775) 267-4122
Street address: 2618 Fuller Avenue  Minden, NV 89423  http://www.search-associates.com
A private agency comprised mainly of former directors of international schools, Search places around 500 candidates annually. Fairs are operated in Kuala Lumpur, Sidney, Dubai, Oxford, Houston, Cambridge, Toronto and Carmel, CA and Bethesda.

International Schools Services, PO Box 5910, Princeton, NJ 08543 A non-profit organization witha wide range of services for international schools, ISS annually operates two large fairs each February: one on the east coast (Washington, DC in 1998), one on the west coast (San Francisco, 1998) plus a late one in Philadelphia each June. They place over 500 candidates.

European Council of International Schools, 21 Lavant Street Petersfield GU32 3EL UK ECIS hosts a major recruitment fair in London early each February and a later one in April. A mix of American and British based schools attend.

University of Northern Iowa This is the grandaddy of all recruitment fairs and the one that started them all back in the 70s. It attracts up to 700 teachers and 140 schools.

Several other colleges or universities also sponsor recruitment centers:check with your university to see if they might be one of them. Which one is best for you? It may depend on location, time of the fair, whether you want a large one or one which is smaller with more personalized attention. ECIS London tends to attract a lot of schools from Europe; Search KL is heavy with international schools in Asia while Search-Houston focuses on Latin America and Search-Dubai is British oriented. UNI has schools from all over, as does ISS. All of the recruiting sources above have websites. Use a search engine to access them and learn more.

The Office of Overseas Schools (U. S. State Department) maintains an excellent website with links to the above. Fees for the above are all moderate and should not be a determiner of which one is chosen. Sources for learning more include the ISS Directory of Overseas Schools; The International Educator (TIE), a newspaper of great interest (PO Box 513, Cummaquid, MA 02637 for subscription); or, visit the Teacher’s Internet Pages (TIPS) on the world-wide web.

Taken from the article summitted  on overseasdigest.com

About the author
Mr. Ambrose was named “Superintendent of the Year” by the Association for the Advancement of International Education in 1997. He has served as the President of the Society Limited to Overseas School Heads; represented international schools on the Elementary Commission of the Middle States Association of Schools and Colleges; was a long standing officer of the Board of Directors of the Near East, South Asian (NESA) Council of Overseas Schools; a member of the Board of Directors of TIE, for which he regularly writes articles, and; wrote, produced or directed a series of videotapes designed to train overseas school board members. During his 24 years overseas, he administered a number of schools and was most recently Director of the United Nations International School in Hanoi, Vietnam.

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