Surveys

New Survey: Are you thinking of leaving your current post this year?

November 22, 2013


A new survey has arrived!

Topic:  Are you thinking of leaving your current post this year?

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Yourself:  Am I leaving or am I staying? Am I leaving or am I staying?

Other colleagues: Are you leaving or are you staying?  Are you leaving or are you staying?

Director: Are you leaving or staying? I need to know now!

International schools in Asia already have had to let their schools know if they are leaving or staying for the 14-15 school year, but others (like ones in northern Europe) might not really have to give their notice until sometime in 2014.

Regardless of whether when you have to officially decide, this question is always on the mind of a circuit international school teachers.

Some of us say that you should stay at an international school between 3-6 years.  But as we all know, there are many of us that leave after only 1-2 years. I mean a normal international school teaching contract starts off as a two year one.

Some of us really like to plan ahead and decide you are leaving one whole school year before you plan to move, others of us like to wait until the last moment and decide to accept any penalties for any late leavers.  Sometimes the penalties outweigh the pros of moving to your new place, so that it fine with you…but it still does put the international school in a tough situation when they have to try and find somebody to fill your position on such short notice.

And it is not all about you that weighs in on this important decision, there are many other factors at play: money, location, love, career, travel, etc.

So, I am curious to see what are International School Community members doing this year.  Is the power going be in the hands of the international schools this year (too many candidates for the vacancies) or will the power be back into the candidates’ hands (too many vacancies for the available candidates)?

Who knows??!

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So, go ahead and vote whether you are thinking of leaving your current post this year?  Go to the homepage of International School Community and submit your vote today!  You can check out the latest voting results here.

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Surveys

Survey results are in: What is the air quality like where you are currently living?

November 20, 2013


The survey results are in, and it seems as if most visitors and members of International School Community who voted are working in a location that has Normal/Very Clean air.

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Thank goodness that most of the voters do actually live in a place where the air in clear and clean.  Having a clean air environment where you are living can really play a huge factor in your well-being and for your health.  It can also put you at ease knowing that you can spend time outside (for example go and enjoy the city’s parks with your family) without or having  little care or concern about if you are breathing in polluted air.

Not all of us are so lucky as we know.  If you are living in the more ‘hardship’ placements (let’s say in Beijing), we all know that clean air is NOT something to take for granted. It has been in the news a lot lately about how the amount of toxins in the air in Beijing are reaching super high levels, making it a serious health concern for people.   I wonder if the three people that voted Extremely Bad are living there.

But back to clean air places.  We need more of them I am sure, and they are NOT to be taken for granted.  When job hunting, it would definitely be a no-brainer to sign a contract to work at a place in a city with very clean air (if all the other benefits also make it a good fit for you as well of course).  But you might not be so quick to sign a contract for a school in a location known for it pollution air.  Question is…are you will to take the risk and potentially sacrifice your health for 2-6 years to take a really good teaching opportunity at a top international school in one of the polluted areas of the world?

Luckily on International School Community, we have a City Information section in the comments and information part of each school’s profile page that is related to air quality which discusses the weather for the location at each school.  It can be quite important to know more about the weather if you are planning on moving across the world to live and work there for the next two or more years.  Is your potential new international school in a location with nice weather and clean air or in a place with not the best weather and poor quality air?

The comment topic in the City Information section tab is called:

• Describe the city’s weather at different times of the year.

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Taken from the International School of Kuala Lumpur‘s school profile page.

There have been many comments and information submitted in this topic on numerous school profiles on our website; 675 to be exact.  Here are just a few:

One International School Community member said about working at Britannica I.S. (Belgrade): “Belgrade has all 4 seasons, with extremely hot summers (air condition in an apartment and on the work is a must!) and cold winters with a lot of snow.”

Another member said about working at Prem Tinsulanonda International School: “I love Chiang Mai because the weather is cooler than most other parts of Thailand. Not as humid either.”

Another member submitted a comment about working at Beijing International Bilingual Academy: “The air is was nearly always full of smog (even out in the burbs by the school). Cold in the winter and hot in the summer.”

If you are currently a premium member of International School Community, please take a moment to share what you know about the weather in the cities in which you have lived. 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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Surveys

New Survey: What is the air quality like where you are currently living?

September 17, 2013


A new survey has arrived!

Topic:  What is the air quality like where you are currently living?

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Getting bronchitis for the first time in your life because you are now living in a very polluted city with very bad air quality….not fun stuff.

Not being able to let your children play outside in the garden area of your apartment complex because of the warning on the news about the air quality that day being too high and too dangerous to breathe for long periods of time….very unfortunate.

Not seeing a blue sky for many weeks….depressing.

The air quality of the place you move to is very important to know about and fully understand.  It can truly affect many of the normal things that you do in your daily life.

Is it a factor important enough to consider when thinking about moving to a county with extremely bad air quality?  Some might say YES!

It might not be worth it to subject your body and risk the negative (and maybe long lasting) side effects for a standard stay for an international school teacher (which is typically a 2-year contract).

Let’s not forget though the many cities that have very clean air quality.  That alone could be one excellent reason to stay another year.  It might even be better than the city you lived in back in your home country!

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So, go ahead and vote to describe the air quality in the city you work in.  Go to the homepage of International School Community and submit your vote today!  You can check out the latest voting results here.

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Surveys

New Survey: Describe the current condition of the international school building you work at.

July 17, 2013


A new survey has arrived!

Topic:  Describe the current condition of the international school building you work at.

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We all probably wish we could be working at a brand new, purpose-built school, but that is definitely not the case at most international schools.  Some international schools are even situated in buildings that weren’t designed for schools at all.  Some international school teachers have been told that their school will temporarily be housed in a non-school like building, only to find out 10 years later that the schools is still there!

Then there is the director/school board that officially decides to build a whole new building for their international school.  Sounds great and exciting at first, but the process of getting new building takes years and years!  Not so exciting then for the international school teachers that plan to leave the school after a couple of years.  Though sometimes the new building plans just disappear and never end up even happening at all.

Some teachers (and students) get lucky and finally get their new purpose-built building, but only to find out that it is located in a part of the city that is basically in the middle of nowhere.  Some of us might want to sacrifice and keep working in the old building that was closer to the center of the city!

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It is important to note that not all of us desire to work in a super new school building, some of us like the older feel and quite enjoy working in a building that has a lot of character and history.  But there is nothing worse though than having a classroom that is not the right size, not able to accomodate certain new technologies, has mold problems, etc.

So, go ahead and vote to describe the current condition of the international school building you work at.  Go to the homepage of International School Community and submit your vote today!  You can check out the latest voting results here.

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Discussion Topics

It is time to say goodbye to your current international school: getting rid of your things before the big move!

June 15, 2013


lostluggagebhpIt is sad to say goodbye.  Even more so when you are an international school teacher.  Goodbye new country, goodbye new teacher-friends, goodbye new local friends, goodbye the excellent local cuisine and your new favourite restaurants, etc. And let’s not forget….goodbye to some of your possessions.

At this time of year you already know the teachers for whom it will be their last year working at your current international school.  There is almost a stage of denial that you go through.  You don’t want them to leave for many reasons, some personal and some work-related. On the other hand, you might be quite content with them leaving!

Whether you want them to go or not, international school teachers have to plan and think about a lot of things when they decide to leave an international school.

Selling your things: Some international schools have an end-of-the-year flea market where leaving parents and teachers can bring their stuff to sell.  What a great way to get some money for the things you won’t be taking with you.  If there isn’t an organized flea market, some international school teachers use Facebook and Craigslist-type websites to sell their things.  You can also get in contact with the new hires that will be arriving in the fall to see if there are a few things that they would like to buy…as there will be probably many things that they will need.

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Giving away your things: Sometimes it is not worth the ‘hassle’ of trying to find people to which to sell your things. In the international school teaching community where you’re at, you will always find others that will take your unneeded things!  One time I received 2-3 boxes of things (that I didn’t ask for) from a parting teacher, and there were some really nice things!  Also, it is fun to give away your things, and it leaves a little bit of you with them. One time I took out all the artwork in all the frames in my apartment. Then I had my good friends choose a favorite picture that I had taken during my time there.  I blew up the chosen pictures and put them into my frames (can’t always take big frames with you when you move anyway!).  It was a nice gift to give to them as it came closer to my last couple weeks before my official moving date.

Taking your things with you: If you are lucky, your next international school will have some shipping benefits.  You can use that money to send most of your personal belongings to your next location.  Some international schools don’t have that benefit though, so make sure to get all the details. If you are even luckier, your current school will also have some shipping benefits for leaving teachers as well (Double the money!).  Sometimes international schools have a date that if you formally resign before that date, you will be eligible to receive another baggage/shipping allowance.  In the international school teaching world, it appears it pays to plan ahead then.  I have never used a formal, professional moving company, but many do.  At first, it doesn’t seem like you have a lot of things to move (especially if you are living in a furnished apartment), but then as you start packing, the number of boxes always always seem to multiply!

We have a comment and information topic (in the Benefits tab section on all of our school profile pages) directly related to shipping/moving allowance.  It is called “Detailed info about flight, shipping and settling-in allowances. Any other benefits (e.g. free lunches, etc.)?

Here are some other example comments and information that our members have submitted in this topic:

“You get up to 2000 Euros to use for a moving allowance. You also can get 2000 Euros (interest free loan) if you need some extra money for a “settling-in allowance”. No flight allowance, though the school does pay for your first flight there. (1000 USD for people in Europe and 1500 USD for overseas hires).” – 

“Moving allowance is around 450 Euros. They will pay for your airfare to get there, but there is no annual flight allowance. The school gives you a lunch allowance as well, around 126 Euros a month.” – 

“Moving allowance provided is 1200 USD for singles and 2300 USD for teaching couples.” – 

“The school pays for your flight, visa costs and a shipping allowance of 500USD…but no shipping allowance when you leave. You also can pay for lunch at a nominal cost. Tuition is covered for two dependents but you still have to pay for transportation and food costs which is approximately 230,000 COP per month.” – 

If you know about the shipping and baggage allowance details of the international school you currently work at or have worked at in the past, log-on today to share what you know!  For every 10 submitted comments and information, you will automatically receive one free month of premium membership added to your account.

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