Around the world, there are cities that have more than one international school. Many times there is an American school, a British School, and an international school that uses an international curriculum.
Some cities, though, have MANY international schools! When that is the case, how do the comments about each school compare to each other?
This blog series looks at comparing some of these comments, all coming from international schools in the same city.
Currently, we have 17 schools listed in Kuala Lumpur on International School Community.
Schools with the most submitted comments:
Newlands International School (51 comments)
Garden International School (21 comments)
International School of Kuala Lumpur (99 comments)
Mont’Kiara International School (27 comments)
Sunway International School (15 comments)
Taylor’s College (16 comments)
Alice Smith School (8 comments)
High Expectations for Teachers?
“The school’s workload is average. We certainly hear of neighboring (similar caliber) schools who expect a lot more out of their teaching staff. In addition to a normal teaching day, teachers also are expected to lead 2 after school activities (running 10 weeks long each) per year. Coaching satisfies this requirement. This is standard for international schools in Malaysia, as the government requires schools to offer ASAs. Some teachers work until 3:30 (official end of day), and others are consistently there until 5 or later. However, this is a matter of choice and personal work ethic, most often not because of additional duties required by the school.” – Mont’Kiara International School
“I dont think the workload is particularly heavy although the school has high expectations. A 100% teaching load comes with two non contact hours per day, slightly less in lower grades. In ES some of these blocks are taken up by co-planning and team meetings. After school meetings are twice monthly, relatively low compared to other schools” – International School of Kuala Lumpur
“Teachers usually take on one extra-curricular.” – Taylor’s College
“Teachers are trusted but a great commitment is expected. One after school club/week/term.” – Newlands International School
Language Background of the Students
“The students are mainly from the expatriate community of Kuala Lumpur and come from over 50 different countries. Malaysian students are only allowed to attend international schools if they have obtained approval from the Malaysia’s Ministry of Education. The GIS roll currently comprises approximately 40% Malaysian students, the second largest nationality group is British.” – Garden International School
“The Principal reminds the pupils every day to speak in English but some lapse back into Chinese.” – Newlands International School
“Chinese dialects, Bahasa Malaysian, some international sts.” – Taylor’s College
“The school requires students entering after kinder have been previously educated in English. I would say about 75% of the students are fluent in English, and the rest are in the ELL program. Students almost all speak English, even if they have friends who speak their native languages. I am not sure of the exact number, but I would guess about half of the students are native English speakers.” – Mont’Kiara International School
“The school provides an accommodation allowance of RM2,500 per month for single teachers, RM2,700 per month for married teacher with no children whose spouse is not working, RM2,500 per month each for married teachers, both of whom are employed by the school and RM3,000 per month for married teachers with children whose spouse is not working in the school.” – Garden International School
“For married housing you get around 987 USD a month; For single housing you get around 846 USD a month; For each dependent child you get 109 USD extra a month. No utilities allowance is given.” – Mont’Kiara International School
“The housing allowance is paid with the salary and is taxable. After tax for a single it amounts to appx 750 USD, for a couple, or with dependents it is more, up to about 1300 USD. Depending on area and size, it is possible to find accommodation in this bracket, though many people treat it as salary and just rent the place they really want for a bit more.” – International School of Kuala Lumpur
“As of next year, teachers will be paid in Malaysian RM. This is actually a positive change and will raise salaries that have gone down with the weak dollar. Taxes are between 12 and 20%, and teachers also contribute about 10% to EPF (retirement plan).” – Mont’Kiara International School
“Pay is good, with a great retirement (EPF) program that can go up to 42% of salary (including both employer and employee amounts). Teachers are paid 10 times (August through June) but in June they also get their July salary.” – International School of Kuala Lumpur
“Salaries are automatically paid into each teacher’s bank account at the end of every month, (usually on the 28th day of the month).” – Garden International School
“Beaconhouse have a real problem getting work-permits so much so that none of the eight foreigners at Newlands have made year two of their contracts. Some have been told to get out on returning from a Visa run. None have been able to stay to year two which means they have to pay a large fine to BH for breaking contract.” – Newlands International School
(These are just 4 of the 65 different comments topics that on each school profile page on our website.)
If you work at an international school in Kuala Lumpur, share what you know. Consider becoming a Mayor for unlimited premium membership!continue reading
Every 1-2 months International School Community will highlight one of our members in our Member Spotlight feature. This month we interviewed Laurence Myers:
Tell us about your background. Where are you from?
I am originally from Athens, Greece with a father from the US and a mother from Greece. I was born and raised in Athens, Greece and attended a small international school (TASIS Hellenic International School, now International School of Athens). I have been teaching for 19 years internationally and have loved every minute of it!
How did you get started in the international teaching community?
For me teaching internationally was almost an extension of my life as a student. As I went to an international school as a child I found the cross-cultural connections at such schools to be right up my alley. Of course, as is often the case, my inspiration came from my teachers and professors, the most powerful of which was that of Kostas Gabriel who presently teaches in Chennai. He was an inspiration in believing in myself as a child and I found that, when deciding on a profession, this also provided me with an impetus to assist students in similar circumstances. I also had some good friends who showed me the way, most notably Ralph Barrett who presently teaches in Abu Dhabi. Following their footsteps, and my heart, I was able to fit right in when professional life came calling. After a couple years of teaching internationally I was hooked. The job offers the perfect combination of discovery and self-reliance with the added dimension of dealing with simply wonderful kids!
Which international schools have you worked at? Please share some aspects of the schools that made them unique and fun places in which to work.
I began my teaching at the same school I attended as a child, TASIS Hellenic International School. It was, and still is, a small school with much character and a small but very dynamic student population. It was here, as I took my professional baby steps, that I learned that students are often waiting for an opportunity to see the world in different ways. I taught both social studies and physical education at TASIS.
Following TASIS, and a short stint back in the US to receive my M.A., I taught for five years at Colegio Nueva Granada in Bogota, Colombia. For me this was an eye-opening experience. Like the Greek community, Colombians are open and really want to know about you as a teacher. I found this connection fascinating and discussions with my students in economics and government endlessly rewarding. The country of Colombia too, which had a shady reputation at the time, was a simply beautiful place to be! Despite the media and the difficult political situation the travel opportunities there were tremendous and I still find that, in so many ways, Colombia is home for me as well. I am also happy to be connected to Colombia through my wife, who has been by my side since those days at CNG. 🙂
My next stop, where I presently work, was the International School of Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. It was here that my professional self was able to succeed in ways that I never imagined possible. ISKL’s professional development opportunities and the support that they offer their teaching staff allows for many teachers to become great leaders in their own right. Though the expectations are high, so too is the sense of professional community. Collaborative, supportive and engaging ISKL has given me the opportunity to broaden my understanding of teaching and learning. It is in Malaysia that my two daughters were born and so our connection to Kuala Lumpur will be life-long.
Describe your latest cultural encounter (or reverse cultural encounter) in your current placement, one that put a smile on your face.
In Malaysia it is customary to point with the thumb and not the index finger. As our daughters are quite young trying to get them to remember to point this way is sometimes difficult. Traditionally we point, as most do in the west, with our index fingers. At one point when we went to a restaurant our daughter was pointing at something and we were overly concerned about what that might say about our cultural empathy. We tried very hard to get her to change her finger and were embarrassed to fail miserably. When we went over to the table and sat down to talk about it our daughter told us to look at the next customer, a Malaysian woman, who had just walked in. Sure enough, she was indicating things to the staff using her index finger. My daughter was vindicated and I quieted down recognizing that customs often change as cultures diffuse. Where we are often overcompensating in order to fit into the local culture, the members of that same local culture might be happy to use western gestures and norms.
What are some important things that you look for when you are searching for a new position at an international school?
As I have matured in my teaching, and as my family situation has changed (ie. single to married to having children) so too has my outlook on what is important in a job. When I was younger, of course, my impression of travel opportunities and cultural experiences was primary, as well as the reputation of the school. Now that I am older with a family I suspect that my next teaching post will be a bit closer to home and one where our children can also have a positive learning experience. It should be a school that allows me personal and professional challenge but also provides children with a well-rounded educational experience.
Specific thoughts on a new position (when that happens):
Is it in a safe location?
Does the school promote whole-child philosophy?
Does the school’s administration support teaching initiatives?
What is the “personality” of the school and does it fit in with our own?
Does the school support an environment of caring for people and for the environment?
In exactly 5 words, how would you describe the international school teaching experience?
Discovery. Rewarding. Engaging. Relationships. Awesome.
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 Malaysia like Laurence? Currently, we have 23 international schools listed in the Malaysia on International School Community. Here are a few that have had comments and information submitted on their profiles:
• Garden International School (19 Comments)
• International School of Kuala Lumpur (55 Comments)
• Nexus International School (18 Comments)
• International School of Penang (Uplands) (9 Comments)
• Dalat International School (6 Comments)
• Mont Kiara International School Kuala Lumpur (8 Comments)
In this blog series we will talk about the ins and outs of an excellent new teacher orientation programme at an international school. A new teacher orientation programme can really play a very important part to your start at your new school, in your new host country. What are all the must-haves then? Check out our blog series here to read about the ones we have discussed so far.
Must-have #7: A dinner outing with the director and administration
In some cultures it is very much of a bonding moment between people when they share a meal together. It is a time when you can really relax and have some nice conversations with each other. Getting to know your director and other new teachers in this kind of setting will help you with future encounters with the director and also with your potential new good friends. Having a meal with your bosses can really start your relationship with them on the right track.
How nice is it when the administration treats you to a nice dinner out somewhere in your new town? It really just sets the stage right to have a great start to your first year. Sure it is not that important and of course it does not have anything to do with your job specifically, but it is nice to get some bonding time with the other new teachers as well as your new bosses. Also, there is the fact that you probably don’t have so much money when you first arrive to be going out to eat at a nice restaurant. Plus, you probably do not even know where the good restaurants are just yet anyway.
If there is not a dinner planned though for all the new teachers, it definitely feels like something is missing. If there is a dinner planned, then there are a few scenarios that might happen. Most often the admin plans a dinner out in the center of the city at a nice restaurant. You can really take in your new “expat lifestyle” in this scenario! If you have a director that is a little bit more personable, he/she might invite you over to have dinner at their house. In this scenario, the director is really making an effort to show the new teachers that they are now “one of the family” on the staff at the school.
A less desirable scenario is when the dinner is just held at the school itself. Maybe the admin staff will get the cooking staff to make something special for everyone. Having the “dinner out” at the school is probably not making a very good impression on the new teachers, but depending on cooks, it could actually be quite nice. Another way to not make the best impression is to have the dinner at some cheap restaurant (just across the street from the compound where all the teachers are living) with little planning involved on making the outing special in any way.
In either scenario, the conversations and experience had at the “dinner out” with the new staff will surely be ones that you remember. A fun time is usually in store with a lot of laughter. Take it all in because this dinner-out evening is just the beginning of your new and exciting expat life in your new host city.
Some members on our Facebook page have shared about eating out with their administration during the new teacher orientation week they experienced at their international school:
International School Geneva – Campus des Nations – “At IS Geneva there was barely an orientation week (just 2 half days) let alone any sort of dinner.”
International School Singapore (10 Comments) – “The head of school throws a BBQ dinner for the new teachers and one later for all staff to mingle with the new staff.”
Discovery College (Hong Kong) (5 Comments) – “We had a dinner at a Chinese restaurant. Also a drinks/appetizers with the larger ESF organization.”
Not that you would ask about this topic at your interview or anything, but it might be important to ask the administrator who’s interviewing you the details of the new teachers orientation week. You do want to know how they support new teachers to make a smooth transition.
On International School Community we have a number of principals and directors of international schools that are members. Currently, we have 20 Directors/Heads of School that have joined. Some of the international schools they work at are:
• The Bilingual School of Monza
• International Community School Addis Ababa
• Olive Green International School
• International School of Dusseldorf
• ABC International School (Tokyo)
• International School Groningen
• Garden International School
Log-on today to check out the many comments and information submitted in this section topic! Become the most informed you can be when it comes to finding out the benefits an international school offers to its new teachers.
So, does your international school include a dinner out with the director and administration as part of their new teacher orientation? Please share your experiences!continue reading
Random year for international schools around the world: 1951
There is much history in the international teaching community. We have international schools with founding dates of 1838 and 1854 and we also have many, many international schools with founding dates in the 21st century. The numbers are increasing for sure.
Utilizing the database of the 1351 (11 February, 2013) international schools currently listed on International School Community, we found 11 international schools that were founded in 1951. Here are a few of those schools that also have had comments and information submitted on them on our website (excepts about their founding are taken from the schools’ websites)
Greengates School (British International School) (5 Comments) (Mexico City, Mexico)
“Greengates School is a privately owned, co-educational day school set in the northern part of Mexico City, in an area of over 20,000 sq. meters. For over 60 years the school has been preparing students for university study worldwide and developing caring global citizens.”
International School of Brussels (7 Comments) (Brussels, Belgium)
“The International School of Brussels first opened its doors in October 1951, with four teachers on hand to welcome twenty-seven students between the ages of 5 and 11.
In the spring of 1953, with a population of more than one hundred students, the school moved to its current home at the Château des Fougères, in the Brussels commune of Watermael-Boitsfort, and became known as the International School of Brussels.
In its early years, the entire school was housed in the Château: a far cry from the 40 acre campus with four school divisions and a lifelong learning centre that make up the ISB of today!”
Lycee International de Saint Germain-en-Laye (9 Comments) (Saint Germain-en-Laye, France)
“The American Section program starts in Pre-Kindergarten and goes through 12th grade. There are approximately 700 students enrolled, evenly divided between boys and girls and ranging in age from 4 to19. Approximately 60 percent of our students are U.S. citizens, and many hold both French and American citizenship. Most of the remaining 40 percent are French citizens who have spent a considerable amount of time in the United States or have had American schooling.”
Jakarta International School (9 Comments) (Jakarta, Indonesia)
“With five original students, Jakarta International School was founded by UN workers in 1951. These pioneers introduced relevant schooling in English for children of expats in the newfound Republic of Indonesia. From early days the school’s international identity was clear. It was originally named the Joint Embassy School (J.E.S.) after its British, American, Australian and (then) Yugoslavian embassy partners. Just over a decade later, in 1978, J.E.S. became J.I.S.”
Garden International School (19 Comments) (Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia)
“Garden School was established by Mrs Sally Watkins, the wife of the then Fire Brigade Chief. Lt. Col. F.F.C. Watkins, in the Lake Gardens of Kuala Lumpur in 1951.”
International School Bangkok (16 Comments) (Bangkok, Thailand)
“Widely recognized as one of the premier international schools in the world, International School Bangkok (ISB) has been providing quality education since 1951 to expatriates representing more than 60 countries.”
Check out the rest of the international schools listed on International School Community and check out their histories as well! We have over 1351 international schools that have profile pages on our website.continue reading