Blogs of International Teachers

International School Teacher Blogs: “Expat Heather” (A teacher who works in South Korea)

September 17, 2019


Are you inspired to start-up a blog about your adventures living abroad and working at an international school?

Our 48th blog that we would like to highlight is called Expat Heather: Teacher, Traveler, Writer Check out the blog entries of this international school educator who works in South Korea:

A few entries that we would like to highlight:

How to Start a Career as an International Teacher

“Many schools prefer to hire through placement companies such as International Schools Services (ISS) or Search Associates. These companies provide a database of both schools and potential candidate, and they also arrange hiring fairs around the world. You will need to pay a fee when you apply, and be sure to apply only if you meet the company’s requirements. Once accepted, you will have access to information about international schools, the salary packages they offer, and current vacancies…”

It is true. Many of the top tier schools still register with and search for quality candidates using the few recruitment agencies out there. The best part for the candidate is the access to the job vacancies that they post in their database. Though often the vacancies posted there can quickly become outdated, unfortunately!

Related to recruitment fairs, check out our blog on this topic called: International School Recruitment Season: Recruitment Fair or Skype?
Times are changing for international schools teachers. Even though it is sometimes good to be registered with a recruitment agency, it is not necessary any more to attend one of their fairs.
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Teaching at ISHCMC American Academy in Vietnam

“My classroom is sweet. There is a built-in projector that I use almost everyday – it saves a TON of writing and rewriting on the board. All the desks and chairs are pretty new and there are big windows that let in a good amount of light when it’s not cloudy. Thankfully, the English Department is on the second floor…”

There is a comment topic on our website called: “Describe the technologies available at the school and how people are/are not using them.’ There are 435 total comments that have been submitted in this comment topic on 100s of schools.

Here is an example comment that was submitted about Seoul Foreign School: “Macbooks; 1:1 for grade 4 and above. combination of macbooks and iPads in lower grades. Apple TVs in all rooms. Google Classroom and Seesaw used for student portfolios and assignments. There are 3 digital learning coaches that are employed to support tech integration but the system for this support is patchy and could be improved.”

How to Become an International Teacher

“There are scores of schools that are international in name, but what teachers often call a “true international school” is a school that enrolls students from a variety of countries. These schools tend to be located in major cities, diplomatic capitals and international financial centers. Students include ambassadors’ kids, expat kids, teachers’ kids and local children whose parents can foot the bill.

Other schools may be internationally accredited but enroll primarily local students. Teachers refer to this type of school as a “national” school, although both types hire foreign teachers. Some national schools hire only foreign-qualified staff; others hire most teachers locally but employ foreigners for certain subjects like English. The ratio of foreign to local faculty at schools can vary widely even within the same country or city.

Many dubious schools, who claim to be “international,” will also have neither an international student population nor any type of international accreditation. Be wary of these ones…”

There is a comment topic related to technology on our website called “Describe language abilities of students at this school and what is the “common language spoken in the hallways”? Is there one dominate culture group?” There are 1152 total comments that have been submitted in this comment topic on 100s of schools.

Here is an example comment that was submitted about Tarsus American College: “Turkish is the common language. The school’s goals speak about bilingualism, however, students speak Turkish, during your English instructed lessons and in the corridors. Teachers who are “supposed to be” bilingual converse with students in Turkish, so the only time students use English is when speaking with an expat. Notices mounted in Turkish, emails sent in Turkish. Weekly assemblies are in Turkish, as an expat one has to turn to a Turkish colleague or student and ask for a translation and many times announcements made in the assembly have an impact on the teaching staff.”

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Want to work for an international school in South Korea like this blogger?  Currently, we have 130 international school teachers that have listed that they currently live in this country. Check them out here. We also have six members that is from this country.

* 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

International School Teacher Blogs: “Two Apples a Day” (Two teachers working in Seoul)

September 2, 2017


Are you inspired to start-up a blog about your adventures living abroad and working at an international school?

Our 48th blog that we would like to highlight is called “Two Apples a Day”  Check out the blog entries of these two international school educators who work in Seoul:
teacher blog

A few entries that we would like to highlight:

FAQs About Becoming an International School Teacher

“Q: What qualifications are necessary in order to become a teacher at an international school?

J: Most reputable international schools will want teachers to be certified and have at least a bachelor’s degree. Some of the more competitive schools would like you to have at least 2 years of teaching experience and/or your master’s degree as well. If you are already living abroad and you want to pursue teaching, you can start an online teaching program where you can get certified and/or your masters.

M: No matter what, to become a teacher you should have your teaching certificate (as mentioned several times previously, but hey- some people overlook it!). There are several programs available that last from one to two years, and others as short as nine months. There are also programs that will give you a master’s degree as well as a teaching certificate, but not ALL education master programs do that, so make sure you do your research…”

Related to what teaching qualifications that you need to work at international schools, we have 936 comments that have been submitted on this comment topic on our website: “Describe what kinds of teachers work here (local vs. expat, nationality, qualifications [or lack there of], etc.) and staff turnover rate.”

Here is one of them from American School of Torreon: “It is roughly 60% local and 40% import. The staff turn-over rate is on average 2-3 years. The turn-over has been higher in the past due to instability in the area that has declined and stabilized recently. Almost all new staff is licensed and from the states. Many teachers are retired from the US or very young, new teachers. It has a good internal culture though.”

“How do you find an international school teaching job?

1. Sign up with an international school recruiting company.

I would highly recommend Search Associates or International Schools Service (ISS). A lot of the accredited and reputable international schools uses either or both of these companies. Both companies have multiple job fairs throughout the year in the US, Asia, Australia, and Europe that teachers can go to. Also, they have extensive online database that they put your profile in that many international schools look at to recruit. There is a fee when you sign up, but it is worth it. I would recommend Search Associates, because I’ve used that and had good success with finding jobs. Also, you will need confidential administrator recommendations and also parent recommendations for teaching positions…”

Recruitment agencies are definitely a part of many international school teachers’ experience trying to secure a job in the international school community. We have a number of articles (9) that have been submitted in our blog category called 9 Lessons Learned Regarding Intl School Hiring Fairs“. Here is a blurb from our latest one titled “Remember to check yourself in the mirror before you leave your hotel room for the day’s interviews.”:

“The first fair that I ever went to, I didn’t even own a suit. I had to get one from a department store a couple of weeks before. I remember not even knowing what the “rules of wearing a suit” were at the time. I ended up getting advice from the “suit expert” at the store; when and when not to button the 3rd button, which tie colours were best “suited” for interviewing, etc. I felt a bit silly when I wore this suit at the time of the fair, but I ended up getting 4 offers, so maybe my new clothes were having the right effect. I only had two sets of shirts and ties (using the same suit), so I hope that none of the schools noticed being that many teachers have multiple interviews with the same school over the 2-3 days of the fair...”

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Want to work for an international school in South Korea like these bloggers?  Currently, we have 97 international school teachers that have listed that they currently live in this country. Check them out 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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Blogs of International Teachers

International School Teacher Blogs: “Josefino Rivera” (A teacher that works at Anglo American School of Sofia)

April 15, 2017


Are you inspired to start-up a blog about your adventures living abroad and working at an international school?

Our 47th blog that we would like to highlight is called “Josefino Rivera”  Check out the blog entries of this international school educator who works in Bulgaria:


A few entries that we would like to highlight:

Moving to the Balkans

“This time, the butterflies in my stomach flapped gingerly. Perhaps it was the recondite Cyrillic which I struggle to understand. Perhaps it was the confused responses upon sharing the news of this job in stark contrast to other locations. Perhaps it was the skills I’ve developed in finding home within myself and not necessarily a location.

On the individual screen from my aisle seat, I watched The Time Traveler’s Wife, empathizing not with the intended wife, but with the time traveler himself: the false sense of control, the naked vulnerability in each travel, and the excitement that comes with such profound experiences…”

How interesting that this international school educator experienced a different reaction from his friends based on the location of the place he was moving to. There are a lot of misconceptions about certain locations and cultures in the world. These people typically haven’t even visited the location that you are moving to and they strangely still have such strong opinions about it!

Related to arriving in your new city/country, we have 60 comments that have been submitted on this comment topic on our website: “Where did the school take you in the city when you first arrived? What were some staff outings/party locations?”

Here is one of them from Qatar Academy (Sidra): “We did trips to the malls and Ikea to buy things. There was one staff lunch at the Rec Center before the whole staff joined but that was it. There are no xmas parties or anything like that. There was an iftar (meal at sunset during Ramadan) but it was in Education City and in the evening, which isn’t convenient for the staff who live outside Education City. There is a social club that tries to organize events for the staff-some drinking and non drinking events and events for families too.”

“Today, the new hires of 2016–2017 stepped foot on the campus of the Anglo-American School of Sofia, home of the wolves. The campus is located on the southeast outskirts of the capital of Bulgaria. It is nestled at the foot of the Vitosha mountains.

Before any new group of educators can work towards a common mission, we have to know each other because eventually we will rely on each other. In the field of education, we are not islands. I can teach a phenomenal course within my work day, but if, vertically, my colleague doesn’t continue developing on the same skills in the next course, we haven’t done our job well. Or if horizontally, I don’t communicate with a student’s other teachers to understand his low performance in my class or what makes her excited in another class, we haven’t done our job well.

Thus to break the ice, our head of school, Jim Urquhart, modeled a community building activity to help remember each other’s names called “Appellation Alliteration”. We stood in a circle, each making an alliteration of our own first name with an alliterative adjective or phrase. In addition, we had to identify a movement that represented that phrase…

New teacher orientation is super important and definitely has a lasting effect on the new teacher. We have a number of  articles (14) that have been submitted in our blog category called “New Teacher Orientation Must-Haves“.  Here is a blurb from our latest one titled “A sit-down with an admin to go over each part of your contract”:

Contract details can be easily overlooked. They are not overlooked because you are not interested in them (because of course you want to know ALL the details when you are in the initial stages after being offered a contract), but because there are too many fine details to fully understand everything you see.

Contracts can also be easily misunderstood. Maybe you already “read” the contract, but it would be safe to say that you would not completely understand everything you “read”.  International school teaching contracts definitely contain parts that are using language you may not be familiar with. If it contains parts that are specific to the rules/laws of the host country, then it is very possible that you might not be so familiar with that jargon in terms of what a certain part is really trying to say…”

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Want to work for an international school in Bulgaria like this blogger?  Currently, we have 7 international school teachers that have listed that they currently live in this country. Check them out here. We also have one member that is from this country.

* 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

International School Teacher Blogs: “Jazzystan” (Two teachers that work in Kazakhstan)

November 17, 2016


Are you inspired to start-up a blog about your adventures living abroad and working at an international school?

Our 46th blog that we would like to highlight is called “Jazzystan”  Check out the blog entries of these international school educators who work in Kazakhstan

teacher blog

A few entries that we would like to highlight:

Ode to the Almaty Pigeon Market

“Last Sunday, Anna and I had our good friends Frankie and Keith to visit from Bishkek, where they have recently moved. Keith used to live in Almaty and Frankie had been before so it was trickier to wow them with the ‘go-to’ visitor activities. (The top choices being Big Almaty Lake, Kok Tobe etc. which are great by the way.) So we decided to go a pigeon market we’d heard of. We have actually tried to go to this pigeon market a number of times but always end up lolling about having brunch and missing it as it closes at 12. But, finally, we made it there and it was definitely worth the wait.

The market is right next to Kazan Cathedral, the oldest Orthodox Cathedral in Almaty, debating back to 1854. The cathedral is plainer than most orthodox churches I have visited before and has a refreshing amount of fresh flowers. It is also home to a cat and a small but nifty little gift shop. I’d highly recommend the gift shop if you really like gold things with saints faces on which I really, really do. To work out where church is- check out the map on this Tripadvisor page…”

How fun to visit the local markets in your host country. You really get a firsthand look at the locals and what they are buying and selling. Of course, the best ones are the ones that are selling things that you would consider a bit strange; crickets, exotic animals, and pigeons!

After searching the keyword “market” on our Comment Search page, we found 76 comments. Here is one of them from Qatar Academy (Sidra): “Once the weather cools, there is an outdoor market next MIA (museum of Islamic Art) they sell food from around the world – Indian, Arabic, Thai, American, etc…clothes, art, knick knacks. It’s a nice way to spend the weekend outside, it’s one of the largest green spaces in Qatar and great for families too. I generally bring a blanket and a book during the winter months when it’s not hot and the sun isn’t intense for long periods of time (though there are shaded areas too.)”

 

“Most people in Almaty are bilingual and many speak three or four languages. The two big languages in the city are Russian and Kazakh. Linguistically unrelated, Russian is a Slavic language whereas Kazakh is Turkic. Kazakh is on the rise but in central Almaty Russian is the language you hear floating around the streets. Both are written in the Cyrillic alphabet but Kazakh has some bonus letters added. In 2015, the Minster of Sports and Culture announced that there would be a gradual move to transfer Kazakh into the Latin alphabet. We hope this doesn’t happen. The Uzbek government has been promoting the use of the Uzbek in the Latin script since the early 2000s.  However, the strange mixture of Cyrillic and Latin Uzbek all over Tashkent hurt our eyes and brains.

It is interesting the language abilities of the local people. Good to know about these abilities before you move there so you can get prepared. Luckily, we have a comment topic related to the language of the local people. It is called: “Languages of the host city and the level of English spoken there.” Here is a sample comment from this topic from Alexandria International Academy: “Language in Egypt is Egyptian Arabic. Many younger people people some English, though the level is usually fairly low. It’s generally easy enough to get around with a basic understanding of Arabic, but the locals can tend not to be very helpful when language difficulties arise.”

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Want to work for an international school in Kazakhstan like these bloggers?  Currently, we have 17 international school teachers that have listed that they currently live in this country. Check them out here. We also have one member that is from this country.

* 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

International School Teacher Blogs: “ 2seetheglobe” (A teaching couple that work at American International School Bamako in Mali)

July 13, 2016


Are you inspired to start-up a blog about your adventures living abroad and working at an international school?

Our 45th blog that we would like to highlight is called “2seetheglobe”  Check out the blog entries of this international school educator who works at American International School Bamako in Bamako, Mali.

Screenshot 2016-07-13 09.41.47
A few entries that we would like to highlight:

Chapter 18: That’s MALI. With an M. And no AW.

“Bali, not Mali.

A year ago we signed a contract to teach in Mali, an African country that nobody had heard of before. People assumed we said Bali, even though it’s not a country and nowhere near Africa. But it does rhyme.

Or they thought we were heading to Malawi. It was also an obscure African nation, well, until Madonna adopted David Banda and Chifundo there and it was featured on E Entertainment News and in scholarly magazines like People, Us, and Star (whose current cover screams “It’s Demi! Cougar Goes Wild in Mexico: THE SEX WAS VERY LOUD”).

Then people would ask US, “What’s Mali close to?” And we would mention neighboring countries such as Burkina Faso, Côte d’Ivoire, Guinea, and Mauritania. And they would do that nod-without-actually-understanding-what was just-said thing…”

It is sometimes a challenge for your home country friends and family to completely understand your life abroad, especially if you are living in a country that nobody has even heard of before (or maybe heard of once on a tv news channel maybe).  For another interesting article related to this topic, check our our own blog article called “Going home for the holidays: No one cares about your international life!“.

Chapter 29: I’d Rather Get a Root Canal in Mali Than Teach in the U.S.

Last year, during a severe sugar craving bout,  I found an old piece of hard candy in my desk at school. Despite the fact that this red sticky thing was probably manufactured back when Mali became a country in 1960, I still popped it into my mouth. Then it got stuck on my lower molars, and upon disengaging it I also yanked off a crown.

This is not a good situation to be in when you live in a developing country where some

dental work occurs roadside. But lo and behold, I discovered a Lebanese dentist (raised in Senegal) who operated a modern, dental practice in an actual building near our school, and he had a number of our students as patients. So off I went to have him reattach the old crown which I was sure would take ten minutes. Except the old crown was cracked and he needed to make a new one. And then he discovered that a root canal had not been done on that old tooth (thank you crappy Florida dentist).

So long story short, he did the root canal (even finding a 4th root which he said was rare)…

Having a medical emergency while living abroad can be an international school teacher’s worst nightmare come true. Though most often than not, you will be able to figure out a plan to get your medical situation resolved, the process in doing so will most likely be stressful. 

Check out some of our submitted comments regarding health benefits and experiences using the host country health care system in one of our our past surveys called How is your experience using your health insurance and medical benefits?” 

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Want to work for an international school in China like this blogger?  Currently, we have 162 international schools listed in this country. 58 have had comments submitted on them. Here are just a few:

Kampala International School (Kampala, Uganda)50 Comments

American International School of Lusaka (Lusaka, Zambia)45 Comments

The School of St. Jude (Arusha, Tanzania)18 Comments

International School of Tanganyika (Dar es salaam, Tanzania)143 Comments

Khartoum American School (Khartoum, Sudan)23 Comments

Khartoum International Community School (Khartoum, Sudan)65 Comments

The International School of Dakar (Dakar, Senegal)44 Comments

International School of Seychelles (Victoria, Seychelles)18 Comments

TLC International School (Nouakchott, Mauritania)43 Comments

American International School of Mozambique (Maputo, Mozambique)32 Comments

Saint Andrews International High School (Blantyre, Malawi)41 Comments

International School of Kenya (Nairobi, Kenya)46 Comments

International Community School Addis Ababa (Addis Ababa, Ethiopia)61 Comments

The American School of Yaounde (Yaounde, Cameroon)26 Comments

The American School of Kinshasa (Kinshasa, Congo (DRC))59 Comments

Additionally, there are a number of International School Community members who currently live in Sub-Saharan Africa. 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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