Information for Members

‘Where Our Members Have Worked’ update: Check out the latest stats!

January 2, 2020

Our 17847 current members (up 3500 members from December 2018) work at or have worked at 1200+ international schools.

How amazing is that?!  In just over nine years now, our “international school community” has grown into an excellent network of international school teachers.  With so much experience and knowledge about life working at over 1200 international schools on our website, the other members are able to stay updated and informed about the schools at which they are interested in working.  Additionally, now it is even easier to find the right members to contact for networking purposes and for gathering more information about the specific questions you may have about working at a certain international school.

Which international schools on our website have the most members you ask?  Here are our top 10 schools:

American International School in Egypt
(27) members

Copenhagen International School
(23) members

Western International School of Shanghai 
(22) members

International School of Kuala Lumpur
(22) members

International School Manila
(21) members

Jakarta Intercultural School
(19) members

MEF International School (Istanbul)
(19) members

Seoul Foreign School
(19) members

International School of Tanganyika
(18) members

Brent International School Manila
(17) members

Want to see the rest of the top 40 list of schools with the most members?  Check out this page which displays the names and avatar pictures of each member that either currently works at that school now or has worked there in the past.

So take a moment to browse our School list page, over members have worked at over 1200 international school from all over the world. Maybe you will find that we have some members who know about the international school about which you are looking to gain more information.

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Photo Contests

Top three photos for Welcoming New Students: And the winners of this photo contest are…

September 7, 2014

I’m happy to announce the winners of our Second Photo Contest (How your school welcomes new students and celebrates the cultural diversity of its student population.).

This photo contest was special because the top three winners also received a free book from the author herself (Valerie Besanceney).  The children’s book is called B at Home: Emma Moves Again (available on Amazon). It is a fictional “memoir” about the experiences of a ten-year-old girl and her teddy bear who have to move yet again. During the different stages of another relocation, Emma’s search for home takes root. As the chapters alternate between Emma’s and her bear’s point of view, Emma is emotionally torn whereas B serves as the wiser and more experienced voice of reason. For more information on her book and the topic of Third Culture Kids, please visit her website:

After a lengthy debate with our panel of international school educators, we have decided on the top three photos.

First Place: Taken at DIWAI International Primary School in Tabubil, Papua New Guinea. “The picture is of PNG Independence Day. I was the only teacher who dressed up. I was overwhelmed by the locals generosity and felt honoured when given a special necklace for the dance.”


Congratulations, Robyn Clark!

Prize awarded: Premium membership for TWO YEARS on our website + a free book!

Second Place: Taken in American School in Taichung, in Taichung, Taiwan.  “In the culture of International Schools, a changing student population is one of the few constants. New students are greeted with smiles and students moving back to their home country, or to the next one, are bid farewell with hugs, tears, and even celebrations. This photo depicts such an event, when a well-liked student left before the school year ended.”


Congratulations, Christine Bierman!

Prize awarded: Premium membership for ONE YEAR on our website + a free book!

Third Place: Taken at the American School of Barcelona. “It was a hallway display that changed every month or so. It highlighted 4 students, from 4 different parts of the world. Each student was interviewed and their answers were displayed next to their picture.”



Prize awarded: Premium membership for SIX MONTHS on our website + a free book!

Thanks to everyone who participated!  We have awarded everyone else ONE WEEK of premium membership for participating in this photo contest.

Stay tuned for our next photo contest which will happen sometime during the next 1-2 months.

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Member Spotlights

International School Community Member Spotlight #31: Lauren Kohlhoff (A teacher at the American School of Madrid)

April 2, 2014

Every 1-2 months International School Community will highlight one of our members in our Member Spotlight feature.  This month we interviewed Lauren Kohlhoff:

Tell us about your background.  Where are you from?

989362_10151961808925686_1496660034_oHi there! My name is Lauren Kohlhoff and I currently teach Drama and Grade 7 World Geography at the American School of Madrid. I’m originally from the Atlanta area – a southern girl born and raised! After earning my degree in Early Childhood Education, I relocated to Northern Virginia where I taught third grade in the Prince William County district for three years. During that time I got married to my then boyfriend of eight years. It wasn’t long before we were itching for a new adventure.

How did you get started in the international teaching community?

If I’m being honest, becoming a teacher in the international community was a complete fluke. My husband had received a job offer in Barcelona in the spring of 2008. I knew nothing about international schools or how to get my proverbial “foot in the door”.  So, I committed an afternoon to surfing the net and literally googled “american schools in Barcelona” just to see what my options were. The first hit was the American School of Barcelona. Bingo! I clicked the link, browsed the site, drafted a cover letter, and submitted a resume despite the fact there were no posted positions. Within days the director at the time contacted me, one thing led to another, and I had a grade 6 Humanities job faster than we could say, “Well, it looks like we’re moving to Spain!” I had contacted the right school at the right time; it was all about timing. It’s been six years and we haven’t looked back.

10152146_10151961815280686_736214447_oWhich international schools have you worked at?  Please share some aspects of the schools that made them unique and fun places in which to work.

The American School of Barcelona is alive with energy. The school is small by comparison to other international schools, which allows the faculty, students, and families to foster a community that in many ways feels more like a family. I have truly never worked in a school where there is such passion for kids and their well-being beyond just academics and the walls of a classroom.

Having just recently moved to Madrid, I am still discovering what makes ASM a special place to work. There is certainly a greater sense of calm, which is something that stands out in a country like Spain! The campus is beautiful and features two new facilities dedicated to sports, sciences, and the performing arts. I am impressed with the number of programs that are on offer for our students, especially when it comes to performance and music. We have a very talented team of teachers who work tirelessly to guide our students to do amazing things!

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

If there’s one thing I have come to love about the Spanish culture, it’s the laid-back “mañana” attitude towards, well, everything. Really, it’s a wonder anything ever gets done around here! But this love and appreciation did not come easily or swiftly that first year. I mean, it took nearly a month before we had internet! Businesses close early and open late, and you can forget running errands on Sundays. It took us the entire first year to adjust our expectations and learn to simply stop swimming against the current. We weren’t in Kansas anymore, Toto. We slowed our pace and eventually came to embrace the “mañana” outlook on life ourselves. Mealtimes are perhaps the embodiment of Spanish culture. Sharing a meal with others is an event that can last hours; there’s no such thing as “fast food”. Even long after the table has been cleared, conversations will continue to flow and the wine will too. This is known as the “sobremesa” and what I think is most special about dining the Spanish way – enjoying your company is just as important as enjoying your meal.

What are some important things that you look for when you are searching for a new position at an international school?

10152851_10151961811710686_564378207_nThis is a tough question to answer because I’ve been in such a unique situation. My destination was chosen and I was fortunate enough to land a job there. If there’s anything I’ve learned about job hunting over the last six years, however, it’s that geography weighs heavily on my happiness and well-being. The destination must speak to me and resonate in a way that fulfills me beyond the school’s campus. Yes, job satisfaction is very important, but it’s only part of the experience. International teaching is also about exploring who you are, learning your limits, and discovering what you never knew about yourself. So much of this happens off campus, and it would be tough to be in a place that stymies that personal growth. For me, Spain is perfect and I’m not sure that I’ll ever need to look anywhere else. I have spoken to a number of colleagues over the years who were not happy in their former placements because the location wasn’t right for them. If I had a dime for every conversation about this topic that included the phrase, “The school was great, but…”, I would no longer need tutoring hours!

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

Lifelong learning at its finest!

Thanks Lauren!  You can check our more about Lauren at her blog.

If you are a member of International School Community and would like to be our next member spotlight, contact us here.  If we choose to highlight you, you will get a coupon code to receive 6 months free of premium access to our website!

Want to work for an international school in the Spain like Lauren?  Currently, we have 26 international schools listed in Spain on International School Community. Here are a few that have had comments and information submitted on their profiles:

• American School of Barcelona (119 Comments)

• Benjamin Franklin Int’l School (49 Comments)

Sotogrande International School (6 Comments)

American School Madrid (27 Comments)

American School Valencia (21 Comments)

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Member Spotlights

International School Community Member Spotlight #29: Melissa Pritchard (A teacher who has most recently taught at Benjamin Franklin International School)

November 1, 2013

Every 1-2 months International School Community will highlight one of our members in our Member Spotlight feature.  This month we interviewed Melissa Pritchard:

Tell us about your background.  Where are you from?

1368634_10152010004753623_331690204_nI was born and raised in Eugene, Oregon in the Pacific Northwest.  I am one of five siblings and therefore always had an active childhood being outside, playing sports, and being social.  It has definitely influenced the adult I am today.  My parents decided to send us to a public school with a Spanish immersion program when we were young, and so from 1st to 12th grade, I did half my day in Spanish and also went to an IB diploma high school.

Learning a different language influenced my idea to travel abroad in college, and studied in both England and Spain during my Junior year.  I loved my experience so much I wanted to go back overseas, but also grow professionally.  I had studied art and design at Alfred University in New York, and wanted to continue with this.  I was awarded a Rotary Ambassadorial Scholarship and was able to continue studying art and design in Barcelona.  My one year scholarship, turned into living abroad in Barcelona for 10 years.  I like to say that the novelty of living abroad never wore off.  There is so much to do and see living in Barcelona.  I started road cycling, running more competitively, and doing all sorts of outdoor activities in this beautiful and sunny region of Spain.  I also learned Catalan, and enjoyed being immersed in the culture.

I miss my family, but visit often and I still love Oregon.  It is an outdoor mecca, despite the rainy weather and we have a lot of great hiking, biking, and skiing.  I wanted to get out of Oregon as soon as I could and went to Western, New York for college, and never really returned to Oregon, except to do my Master’s in bilingual education at Oregon State University in 2007.

For the last seven years, I was teaching at The Benjamin Franklin International School (BFIS) in Barcelona.  I taught elementary art, second and fifth grade.1381001_10152010004763623_1816178198_n

How did you get started in the international teaching community?

I was studying contemporary jewelry design in Barcelona and doing private English classes in Barcelona.  I was interested in more stable work and noticed a lot of American English speaking kids on my bus ride to university in the morning.  I went and explored where they all were going one morning and stumbled across the school.  I started subbing there in all classrooms until a part time art position opened.  After working there for two years teaching art, I decided teaching was really for me and I went back to get my Master’s in bilingual education, but returned after completing my studies to be a homeroom elementary teacher.

I’ve really only worked at one international school and that was BFIS.  I have grown a lot professionally there and enjoyed collaborating with different grade level teams.  You have a lot of freedom to try out different teaching approaches at BFIS and colleagues are supportive and excited to collaborate.  The school is relatively small so the community is close and supportive.  In fact for a lot of the sport competitions I did, students and teachers came to support and cheer me on.  There is a great mix of ex-pat’s and locals and a diverse population.

Recently on my bike trip, I’ve seen a dozen different schools and I love seeing the way they work, their curriculum, and approach to learning.  It has been a unique experience to be a guest speaker and visitor at different international schools around the world.

Where are you currently teaching?

1387928_10152010004758623_1594569286_nGreat question.  I had reached a point in Barcelona where I was itching for a bit of change, and there were still some things I wanted to do out there in the world.

On August 23, I embarked on a bike journey to follow my dreams of cycling around the world.  I’m pedaling from Barcelona, Spain (my current home), to Oregon (my native home), on bike—the loong way.  I will pass through 4 continents, about 20 countries, and cycle approximately 30,000 kilometers during the next year.

My project, The Loong Way Home combines my passion to cycle, travel, and teach.  I believe there are a lot of other ways to contribute positively to a community without attaching a monetary value. Rather than raise money for a charity, I have decided to work and talk with students as I go cycling around the world as the “Teacher on 2 Wheels”.  This will be the first year that I don’t have my own classroom since I started teaching and the thought is daunting.  As much as I want to carry out my adventure, teaching fulfills me and it’s part of my identity.  Therefore, my adventure wouldn’t be complete if it didn’t include some element of teaching.

During my trip, I will be posting my biking statistics, sharing data from my trip, and travel experiences.  Part of my website, will be dedicated to documenting these school visits and interacting with the children using data I collect along my route and the bike as a topic of conversation.  My hope is that this section of my website can be used by teachers in their classroom in different subject areas to make more meaningful connections with learning in our everyday life.

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

On my bike, traveling alone as a female tour cyclist, I feel like I have cultural encounters every day. For instance, most people wouldn’t dare cycle on a toll road, right?  In developed countries, cyclists aren’t even allowed on these roads.  I tried to avoid them when I entered Albania, thinking they worked the same way as in other European countries.  I tried to avoid them at first and looked for an alternate route. However, their road system is so poorly developed that it isn’t worth taking a less main highway because they aren’t cared for in the least.  As I found myself merging onto the highway in Albania, there was a caution sign there for drivers to watch out for walkers, horse-drawn carriages, and of course cyclists, and although it had the toll road symbol, there weren’t any booths, nor were there painted road markers, and I saw everything from chickens and sheep, to donkeys, fishermen, and horse-drawn buggies.  Yet you look at the map of Albania, and it looks like an autobahn in Germany, it intimidates cyclists!1278343_10152010004768623_664840940_n

What are some important things that you look for when you are searching for a new position at an international school?

I feel like I’m at a point in my career where I am really excited to try a new teaching approach.  I’ve been doing a lot of research and incorporating inquiry-based learning into my teaching, and it will be important for me to seek out a school with this similar approach, whether or not it be an IB school with a PYP program.  Location is also key for me as I am such an active outdoorsy person.  I love being able to leave my front doorstep and access all sorts of running trails, paths, and city parks and quiet streets in Barcelona.  I need to be close to the mountains for hiking and winter sports, but also enjoy having sunny weather, regardless if it’s cold. I prefer smaller schools, but I’m open-minded about this as well.  I could go back to Barcelona, it feels like home, but, now more than ever, I realize there are so many different schools out there and places to explore, that I am open to the idea of changing location.

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

The novelty never wears off!

Thanks Melissa!

If you are a member of International School Community and would like to be our next member spotlight, contact us here.  If we choose to highlight you, you will get a coupon code to receive 6 months free of premium access to our website!

Want to work for an international school in Spain like Melissa?  Currently, we have 26 international schools listed in Spain on International School Community. Here are a few that have had comments and information submitted on their profiles:

• American School of Barcelona (110 Comments)

• Benjamin Franklin Int’l School (49 Comments)

American School Madrid (20 Comments)

Sotogrande International School (6 Comments)

American School Valencia (21 Comments)

El Plantio International School Valencia (4 Comments)

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

January 19, 2013

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

Screen Shot 2013-01-19 at 9.29.35 AM

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

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

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

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

• Professional development allowance details.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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