Comment Topic Highlight

Has Your International School Met Your Expectations Once You Started Working There?

January 31, 2018


Taking a job at an international school that you have never visited is just a part of the game in our community. So, many of us try our best to gather all of the information we can before and after signing the contract. One main way of gathering this information is from the administration that interviewed you. Certainly, they do their best to inform you about the aspects of the school that you are interested in knowing about. Ask the administration lots of clarifying questions as well to make sure you are hearing them correctly; so that you can have the best understanding of your future workplace.

Once you start gathering all of this knowledge, you instinctually start to create some expectations. Whether your expectations are realistic or not-so-realistic, they are now there in your brain for the whole rest of the school year at your current school and through into the summer.

expectations

Now that the expectations are there, of course many of them will be exactly what you thought. The possible issue that may arise though is once you get to your new school in July/August. Will all of your expectations indeed come true or will they be slightly different or even non-existent?  There is a real risk that some of your expectation will not come true.

expectations

Even if some of your expectations don’t come true straightaway, it doesn’t mean that they won’t after a half or a whole school year passes.  Stay positive!  If a few expectations are bringing you down, some good advice might be to focus on the expectations that did come true, especially those ones that inspire you as an educator.

Not having all your expectations come true is just another part of the international school teacher experience. Knowing how to handle those moments is the key. The admin hired you from a reason, and they thought you were good fit for the position and their school. Don’t let some high, unreal expectations that you may have derail you. Make sure you stay open-minded and be willing to be flexible. And definitely don’t forget to realize and enjoy all of your expectations that were met once you started working at your new school!

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Luckily, International School Community has a comment topic on our school profile pages related to this topic of has your international school met your expectations once you started working there. There are a total of 202 comments (January 2018) that have been submitted by our veteran international school teachers in one of 65 comment topics called – “Has the school met your expectations once you started working there?”

Here are a few of those submitted comments:

“At first, I was not impressed with the high rate of misbehaved students (because the school advertises that there are “no behavior issues” in the school. However, once the school year got underway, I have watched how teachers have reflected on their management routines and changed them accordingly. I have come to love working at this school because I see students learning and engaged in their work. I also appreciate the camaraderie among the faculty and staff. However, the thing that I did not expect was getting paid late.” – Beijing BISS International School (Beijing, China)67 Total Comments

“During my interview it was clearly described what I was getting into and what was expected from me. I have been at the school three years now and look to stay on longer.” – American International School of Rotterdam (Rotterdam, Netherlands)52 Comments

“The educational provision of the EYFS and Primary departments has improved rapidly in the 15 months since their establishment. It is now a well organised school and everyone is moving forward together. I could not envisage the progress being so rapid when I started. Currently the school exceeds my expectations.” – Varee Chiang Mai International School (Chang Mai, Thailand)65 Total Comments

“Exceeded- I’ve grown a lot as an educator and the collaboration with my colleagues has really pushed me to try new things and think more deeply about my own practice.” – International School of Brussels (Brussels, Belgium)31 Comments

“The interviews were extremely realistic and did not deceive in any way. The school was far better than expected.” –Woodstock School (Mussoorie, India)58 Comments

“The school definitely exceeded my expectations. It’s such a wonderful place to work at. Teachers , students and office staff really live and work in harmony.” – British International School of Stavanger (Stavanger, Norway)24 Comments

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Top 10 Lists

11 Member-Submitted Comments Related to Single International School Teachers

November 5, 2017


With the hiring season upon us, there is a divide amongst us international school teachers. Will the international school you are interviewing with prefer to hire a teaching couple or a single teacher?

I guess it could seem like the international school is being a bit discriminatory when they state their preference (sometimes in the job description vacancy itself), but there might be a number of factors that come into play in their decision to be so explicit in what they are looking for.

Single

Sometimes hiring a single teacher can be more expensive than hiring a teaching couple. We all know schools love saving money! Money aside though, the administration at international schools also know the lifestyle that prospective teachers are signing up for. The set up could be good for both singles and teaching couples, but the city and country where the school is located could also lend itself better to a single person OR to a teaching couple.

It is hard to guess which type of teacher would be better for which set up, but the administration can see patterns developing amongst their staff. For example, are the single teachers or the teaching couples staying longer (or shorter) at the school? Are single teachers finding it difficult to save money there?  Are single teachers able to easily meet up with other expats or locals in the city for a date?

The fact is, though, that single teachers get hired all the time during each recruitment season. If you are a quality teacher with a good resume and references (+luck and timing), the school will definitely consider hiring you. However, it might be good to know which international schools have a good record of hiring single teachers.

Single

Additionally, if a school gives an offer of employment to a teacher who is single, what are the exact details about the benefits the school is offering you specifically?  What is the lifestyle like for single teachers that live in different cities around the world?

So many factors and things to consider!

Luckily, ISC was designed to help international school teaching couples and single teachers find the information they are looking for. Using the Comment Search feature (premium membership needed), we found 92 comments that had the keyword “Singles” in them. Here are 11 of them:

United Arab Emirates
“Dubai is a big city in most ways with very modern nightlife etc. singles should have no trouble meeting other singles, and couples will find the city enjoyable as well. Sex between people who are not married is illegal and people DO go to jail for it/get deported for it, but usually only when it is something very blatant (like having sex on a public beach). Homosexuality is illegal in the UAE and is still prosecuted. UAE is trying very hard to balance between a modern, cosmopolitan city while at the same time being respectful of traditional Arab culture.” – Raffles International School (South) (59 total comments)

Japan
“Kyoto has a pretty balance for all interests. singles may find it difficult here, however, as there isn’t much nightlife in Kyoto (a lot of things close around 8 or 9) and it can be hard to meet people. Osaka is 30 minutes to an hour away, however, and has a lot of options in that department. There are plenty of parks and outdoor spaces in Kyoto, unlike Tokyo or other metropolitan regions of Japan.” – Doshisha International School Kyoto (92 total comments)

Hong Kong
“The housing allowance for singles was increased to 23,000HKD (2900USD) which allows for a bit more choice. Because of the price discrepancy among singles, teaching couples and a teacher with dependent(s), singles were the only ones who received an increase.” – Hong Kong International School (118 total comments)

El Salvador
“The school itself is a very family orientated place, though there are lots of singles in the school. Often group trips are organised renting beach houses and lake houses.” – Academia Britanica Cuscatleca (30 total comments)

Thailand
“Chiang Mai is a great place to live for couples and families. Singles who like the Great Outdoors will also be satisfied. Those seeking a full on nightlife need to save their Bahts for a weekend in Bangkok or Pattaya. Chiang Mai has some great pubs and restaurants, but currently all are forced to close at midnight.” – Varee Chiang Mai International School (62 total comments)

Qatar
“Staff housing is provided. 2 bedroom apartments for singles, just in and around Doha (Al Saad, Al Marqab) or in Education City (mostly families because of the parks and facilities that in and around the compound). You can ask for rent allowance but once you forfeit housing you can’t get back in! QF policy. Think it’s around 8,000 qar a month plus 500 for utilities.You’ll never find anything as nice as the housing provided for that money, without getting a roommate (then you can save money)” – Qatar Academy (Sidra) (65 total comments)

Single

Tanzania
“The school generally recruits at the Search fairs, in Johannesburg, Bangkok and London. There are some long-term local hire teachers. Many local hires are expats who are here with their partners. I believe they also hire through Skype interviews. There is a good mix of people – couples, families and singles. Recently there have been a lot of singles hired which has put a bit of a crunch on housing.” – International School of Tanganyika (171 total comments)

Zambia
“Lots of activities for singles, but people generally agree Lusaka is great for families, less so for singles wanting to find love. There is a small gay culture, but not vibrant due to the country’s general conservatism.” – American International School of Lusaka (45 total comments)

Colombia
“I am a single parent with a 5-year-old so life is very quiet for us. singles seem to have a very active social life as there are a lot of bars and Manizales is very safe. In terms of gay life, I know there are gay bars here and gay couples but I they feel they need to be discreet in public.” – Colegio Granadino Manizales (44 total comments)

South Korea
“Staff housing differs for singles and married couples. They are both located near the school and are in an area which has plenty to do. Major bills include gas, electricity, internet, etc. The most expensive is the gas in the winter. Teachers are responsible for their utilities.” – Busan Foreign School (5 total comments)

France
“There is a mix of local and expat teachers. The majority of expat teachers come from the UK, but others come from other English-speaking countries as well. There is very low turnover rate at the school- maybe one or two positions open up each year. The staff are mostly married couples- very few singles.” – International School of Lyon (12 total comments)

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Information for Members

So Many International Schools WITHOUT Retirement Plans!

January 31, 2017


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

retirement

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

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

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

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

retirement

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

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

We found 23 comments when we searched the short phase: “No retirement
Here are a few of those comments:

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

Canadian International School (Tokyo) (50) Total comments
No retirement plan for teachers.”

We also searched the short phrase “No pension” and found 27 comments.
Here are a few of those comments:

Zhuhai International School (81) Total comments
“There are no pension plans from the school (included in the contract) although if you wished to establish one the office staff would be able to assist you in establishing one.”

Varee Chiang Mai International School (27) Total comments
There is no pension provision, but an end of contract gratuity is awarded in lieu.

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

American International School Vienna (38) Total comments
“Under the newest contract, teachers now have 10% matching for retirement fund commencing at first year. Certainly better if you’re there short-term, though perhaps not if you’d plan to stay 30 years.”

Hong Kong International School (110) Total comments
“I spend a lot of money here because I love to do eat out a lot, travel, and there are many things to do in the city. With that being said, I save about 1,300 USD a month, not counting the school severance/matching scheme which is another 1,300 USD.”

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