Who doesn’t want to work in a relaxed environment at their work? Then after you leave work, you enter into a very relaxed local city environment and home. Sounds pretty nice, right?
However, the world of international schools and the cities they are situated in aren’t always so relaxing! On the other hand, it is important to note that there are indeed a number of schools that are!
Work-related stress can really take a toll on one’s wellbeing, so it is good to keep healthy and give yourself breaks and time to reflect. Talking about your worries and concerns also helps to keep you calm and focused. Meanwhile, it is nice when there are opportunities to do that at your school and you have supportive colleagues that are good listeners and in good spirits themselves.
If your host city is chaotic, that can take a toll on your wellbeing as well. Pollution and lack of nature around may give you less opportunities to recharge yourself and enjoy a well-deserved and relaxing break.
International schools can do a number of things to create a more laid-back environment for its staff. Some schools have a massage therapist come and do appointments on campus once every 2 weeks or so. Other schools allow more autonomy to their teachers in how they want to organize their workday and teach in their classes without being micromanaged. And the list of possible actions goes on…
Cities can and should also make choices that make their neighbourhoods more relaxed. Expanding the urban greenery, working on noise reduction, protecting the water and buildings, and inspiring public recreational facilities are only some of them.
So who are the international schools that have created a more relaxed working environment? And which local cities around the world have relaxing environment to live in?
Luckily, ISC was designed to help international school teachers find the information they are looking for. Using the Comment Search feature (premium membership needed), we found 45 comments that had the keyword “Relaxed” in them. Here are 11 of them:
“The school is quite far from the center of Chiang Mai but it is possible to find nice places to eat and plenty of local shops and markets a short car or scooter ride away. The plus side is that you have total peace and are surrounded by lush green making it a wonderfully relaxed place to live and explore. Staff are given apartments on the school grounds with the option to live off campus for those who wish it.” – Prem Tinsulanonda International School (41 total comments)
“The school is developing and needs innovative and creative thinkers to solve the issues that developed due to the location and lack of resources in the region. Those looking for an adventure and willing to sacrifice the comforts of schools in more developed countries can enjoy relaxed work, a family like setting if the right personalities are in place.” – American International School of Conakry (47 total comments)
“Teaching staff are given leeway to be the professionals in the classroom. Therefore, there is a relaxed, yet committed staff. Administration promotes and values the balance between professional and personal needs.” – Mont’Kiara International School (84 total comments)
“It’s a true non-profit school. Board is not breathing down your neck. In some ways, it’s quite relaxed (no one is inspecting your lessons, usually.) In others ways, there’s unnecessary stress (poor communication, some teaching loads piled too high.)” – Berlin Brandenburg International School (81 total comments)
“The culture of UWCCR is much more relaxed and informal then in most other schools. Everyone is addressed by their given name and there is no dress code for students or teachers. Since it is a community there is a more egalitarian atmosphere.” – United World College of Costa Rica (108 total comments)
“The school provides a lot of flexibility for students and teachers in terms of the day-to-day schedule. There is a relaxed atmosphere at many points in the year.” – American School of Paris (51 total comments)
“We are a small team, we get on really well and are very supportive of each other. If you came here thinking that this is a wealthy school with amazing resources, you would be disappointed. If you come here thinking that this is a friendly, relaxed place where teachers and students really grow, then you would be happy!” – Norlights International School Oslo (114 total comments)
“It is a pretty relaxed city and low costs make eating out very easy. As stated below, the architecture is amazing!” – Pechersk School International (162 total comments)
“There is a Christmas tea hosted for the staff on campus where all the expat and Indonesian staff from all grade levels get an opportunity to spend some relaxed moments together.” – Gandhi Memorial Intercontinental School (203 total comments)
“People stay because it is relaxed, easy, and relatively safe. People leave because of the extra 9% taxes that kick in the 2nd year that are not offset and that you are not told about in the interview. People also leave because of the culture of the parents, not being able to grow, and not having a lot to do when not working.” – American School of Asuncion (145 total comments)
“People are leaving to pursue international teaching careers. People are staying because they enjoy the relaxed lifestyle.” – Ican British International School (74 total comments)continue reading
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.
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…”
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…”
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…”
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…”
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!continue reading
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!continue reading
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.
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
• 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
• 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
• 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
• 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
• 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
• 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
• 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
• 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
• 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
• 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
• 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
• 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
• 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
• 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
• 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
• 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
• 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
• 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
• 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
• 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
• 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
• 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
• 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 Commentscontinue reading
You can definitely say that our 18500+ members are a diverse group. We have members from all over the world that work in all areas of the globe.
You can find out where these members are from and where they work by using our Member Profile Search feature located on our homepage or the Members List page, but we also have a page that puts all those statistics on one page in an easy-to-read manner.
The Members’ Home and Host Countries page
On the Where our members currently work page, we currently have members that work at 164 countries. It appears as if the top countries are United States (786 members), China (568 members), United Kingdom (262 members), India (278) and Thailand (209 members).
Want to know which members live in each country? Just simply click on the number, which is a link to see all of those members. For members that live in Thailand (for example), just click here.
In the column to the right, you’ll also find Our members’ home countries page.
This column shows where our members are from, well the ones that have filled out their member profile page (same goes for the other column). We currently have members that come from 121 countries. It appears as if the top countries are United States (1120 members), United Kingdom (458 members), Canada (277), India (272) and Australia (191).
Want to know which members are from each country? Just simply click on the country link. For members that are from India, just click here.
Don’t forget to fill out your member profile so our statistics will be the most up-to-date!continue reading