Information for Members

Take Our Survey and Win One Year of Premium Membership

May 19, 2018


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International School Community’s mission is to be the go-to website for international school teachers wanting to find everything to do with working at international schools around the world.

We need your help to make sure we are being the best we can be.

Please consider taking our survey. It should take around 10 minutes. All participants that submit a detailed, completed survey will be entered into a contest. Three people who have really detailed comments will win one free year of premium membership to our website!

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We’ll contact the winners on 06 June, 2018 via email. Please write to us here if you have any questions or concerns.

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ISCommunity Milestones

The New Version of Our Website Has Arrived! (48 Hours Free Premium Membership For All)

April 5, 2017


We are so happy to announce the arrival of our newly designed website!

One of main goals of this new design was to make our website more responsive on devices and smart phones. We hope you’ll find it much easier to search things and to navigate our 20000+ comments.

We have a number of new features and functions that we’d like to mention as you take some time to browse around our new website:

• The School Profile Overview page is now available to members with a Basic Membership, which also gives all members access to the school Wall feature.  Also on this overview page, we have added an improved function of favoriting a school. Just click the button and the school will be added to the new Saved Schools page.

• The Main Search Bar is now at the top of all the pages on our website. We suggest everyone to use this search bar to easily get to the places on our website that you want to see. You can search a School, a Member or a Comment.

Enter a school name to search our 1900+ school profile pages.

Search a person’s name to find the specific member (out of our 9800+ members) that you would like to network with.

Use our unique comment keyword search feature to find the specific comments and comment topics that you most want to check out. You can also search a school name on our comment search feature to see all the comments from that school all on one easily scrollable page.

Oh, we forgot to mention that the search bar can be used to search our many blog articles when you are on a blog page.

• The new Most Commented Schools page. Check out this page that lists the top 40 schools that have the most submitted comments on our website.  You can also see a random sample comment for each school on the list.

• The Saved Schools page. Add all the schools that you would like to follow here so that you can just go here to quickly see when your saved schools have last been updated with new comments, for example. The number of total comments on each school profile page is there as well along with a link to go to that profile page to read all the comments.

• Our Management Subscription page has also been improved. Now you can clearly see the history of all the coupon codes and payments you’ve made.

• You can now add a Short Bio on your own member profile page.  Why not share a little bit more about each other so as to network more effectively on our website?!

We are actually working on another page for our website that we hope to make live soon. It will be the School Compare and Battle page.  You will be able to select a school from a list and compare that school from another list to see which school information and benefits are better than the other one. We have assigned points to various criteria based on our member submitted comments. The better the benefits, the more points the school gets and the school with the most total points…wins!

So that everyone can check out all these new features and functions, we celebrate with ALL of our members by offering 48 hours of free premium membership to everyone.

All members can enjoy premium access to all features on our website for 48 hours from 5-7 April, 2017 (ending 23:59 PST on 7 April, 2017).  If you are a member with Basic Membership right now, just login to our website and you will have full access to our whole website; including all comments and all of our unique features (Comment Search, Compare Salaries, etc.).

If you are currently working at an international school, please take this time to submit some comments on the schools you know about on our website. For every 10 comments you submit, your account will automatically be updated with one free month of premium membership. There is no limit, too. So if you submit 40 comments, then you will get four months of premium membership added to your account for free!

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New Teacher Orientation Must-Haves

New Teacher Orientation Must-Haves at International Schools: A tour of your new campus

May 6, 2014


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 the 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 all about the ones that we have discussed so far. m

Must-have #12: A tour of your new campus

2011011213443129777  Before you even interview with an international school, a perspective teacher is definitely scouring the school’s website for pictures of the campus (among other things as well!).  During the interview you even take some time to ask some questions about the campus and its facilities.  The school might even have a neat video that some of their students made, showing off each part of the campus.  After the interview you still want to know more and can’t wait to actually see the campus in person; as we all know too well, pictures can at times be deceiving.

So you finally arrive in your new city and country. Hopefully the director picked you up from the airport and personally dropped you off at your new apartment.  You get settled-in as much as you can in the first few days and then it is time to go to your new school for the first time.

A few questions though, how do you even get to your new school?  Maybe somebody in the business office comes to your apartment complex to drive you to your new school (how nice is that?!?).  Maybe you are with a small group of other new teachers (who also live in the same apartment building) and you get directions on how to use public transport to get to the school campus.  You might even be greeted by a staff member in person at some predetermined location in the city and then you and a group of other new teachers take a walk to the school.

fc3f0c098c43a3e9250b63a57dce5723Finally you are at your new school!  After the initial shock on seeing the campus for the first time and getting introduced to tons of important people at the school, you take a deep breath and get ready to really see the campus.

It is typically one of the first things that you do as a new teachers, get a tour around the whole campus and grounds. Who is doing that?  It could be the director himself/herself that leads the tour; nice to have the person who hired you to be the one to do that.  It might also be your immediate boss who does the tour, or it might be a staff member who has been ‘elected’ to be the official welcomer of the new teachers (I put elected in quotes because sometimes this staff member is just volunteering their time and not always getting paid!).

2TrackNeighborhoodWith your jet-lagged eyes, it is finally time to take everything in of your new school.  Is it well-manicured or old and falling apart?  It is easy to quickly judge things as you going around to the different areas of the campus (maybe they are skipping over some parts to not scare you too much!).  It is hard not to compare everything to your last school.  If luck is on your side, most things at your new school will be way better than your previous one!

Then the tour is over and live goes on.  Soon the new campus becomes very familiar to you and thus you feel super comfortable again and can get yourself into the swing of things as you start your teaching.  Could it be that a nice school campus tour gets you starting off on the right foot for your first year there?

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Luckily on International School Community we have a comment topic that specifically addresses the issue of the school campus.  It is called: Describe the different aspects of the school building and the school grounds. Also, describe the surrounding area around the campus.

We have had a total of 606 separate comments in this topic about a number of international schools on our website.  Here are just a few:

Zhuhai International School –
“The school campus is really interesting and different. It’s in a building, originally built as a hotel, on a nature reserve island, 15 minutes north of the outskirts of Zhuhai city. The pluses: It’s got fabulous outdoor/natural resources – huge outdoor playing areas, a track, an enormous banyan tree, plenty of space, and good-sized classrooms. The minuses: no gym or large meeting space indoors, 3, soon to be 4 floors with only stairs. But if you like a laid back, open environment, surrounded by nature, you’ll love this campus.”

Buena Vista Concordia International School –
“Beautiful, purpose-built school in the Buena Vista area of Bao’an. All buildings in the residential/commercial area utilize an American Southwest theme with brown and orange being the main color scheme. School has full indoor gymnasium, outdoor soccer pitch and track, space for art and music, as well as four large lab areas.”

American School of Guatemala (Colegio Americano)
“Large campus, park-like setting with beautiful tropical landscaping. K-12 so each section has a different are (Early Childhood, Elementary, Middle, High School). Located in a high-end area of Guatemala City (still lots of traffic) but on campus you would never know you’re in the middle of a city.”

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So, does your international school give a tour of the campus straight away to all the new hires?  Please share your experiences!

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New Teacher Orientation Must-Haves

New Teacher Orientation Must-Haves at International Schools: Beginning-level host country language classes.

August 11, 2013


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 the 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 all about the ones that we have discussed so far.

Must-have #11: Beginning-level host country language classes.

class_veroniqueAt times there is nothing worse than the feeling of not know how to communicate with the people in your community. Many of us decide to move to countries where we do not know the host country language.  It is impossible for people to know every language spoken in this world, especially really local languages that are not even possible to learn in universities in your home country.  Additionally, most international school teachers don’t choose countries to live in only where they can speak the language (though some definitely do, which makes sense).

We all know that English is now being spoken in many countries now.  Maybe even all of them have some percentage of the local community that can speak English (especially the younger generations).  Even if there are many people that speak English in your new host country, it is clear though that knowing the local language is very important. If you know at least some of the host country language then you will be able to be clearer with the local people you have to interact with and have less miscommunication that might lead to tense culture shock moments for you. It is also important to start learning the local language because of how language is directly tied to knowing more about their culture.  And that is what this international school teaching experience is all about, learning more about and appreciating the different cultures of this world.

So, the answer is easy. Just go and take some classes. Prospective international school teachers might be surprised though that many of us just don’t do it.  And there are many reasons why we skip the opportunity or chance to attend those classes.  One reason might be that you just simply don’t know where to go.  If your school is there to help you find these classes (or even pay for the classes for you…as some international schools include taking classes in their benefits package), then that can really help you find your way to sign-up sooner than later.  Another reason you don’t attend language classes is because you just figure that you don’t have the extra time to take them. It is a big time commitment to dedicate one or two evenings of your week to go and take language classes.  A third reason might be that you are just not interested or ready to take on a 2nd (3rd, 4th, 5th…) language in your life at that point in time.  A fourth reason is that you might think that you can easily just get away with speaking English your whole time living there.  And if you are planning on only staying two years, you might justify to yourself that you won’t really even be in that country long enough to really need to know the language. There are probably even more reasons why we don’t take these language classes!literacy_pic1-550x257

If you are interested in ‘taking the plunge’ and find that it is a good match for you go and take some language classes, how nice if your new international school is there to guide you to where to take them (during your new teacher orientation programme).  Your school and the people that work there might have some trusted references on schools/classes you can attend…and for the most reasonable prices.  In some countries though, the host country actually offers free language classes to new immigrants to their country, and your new school should be able to help you in how to sign-up for those since they probably have many new teachers each year wanting to do just that.

Even though we all have good intentions to learn the host country language when we first move to a new country, it is a fact that not every international school teacher follows through with this.  Many international schools have teachers that have been there 5-10 years or even longer and they just know the very basic of vocabulary.  Being that the majority of their day is going to be in English, many teachers just get into a routine of not communicating in the local language and end of not effectively learning it.  With all the possibilities of downloading or streaming tv programmes and movies in English on the internet, some teachers’ time after a whole workday in English becomes a WHOLE day of speaking, listening, reading and writing in English.

There are many success stories though. Just as many teachers there are who don’t effectively learn the host country language, there are many that do. They find (make) time to take the classes, they look for local friends to talk to in that language, they pick up the local newspaper to try and read that every day, they sit next to the host country language teachers during lunch time to get in a few more minutes of local-language speaking practice, etc. It is ultimately up for each international school teacher to choose their own path in how they will learn or not learn the language, and having your school there to support and guide you in the right direction can be very helpful!

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So, does your international school help new teachers to get beginning-level host country language classes?  Please share your experiences!

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New Teacher Orientation Must-Haves

New Teacher Orientation Must-Haves at International Schools: Getting access to the internet AS FAST AS POSSIBLE!

May 30, 2013


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 the 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 all about the ones that we have discussed so far.

Must-have #10: Getting access to the internet AS FAST AS POSSIBLE!

368470-10-tips-for-troubleshooting-your-internet-connectionYou arrive in a new country and things are just crazy for you, everything is crazy.  Living in your new apartment or house without any internet access set-up is probably going to get you to the tipping point of your new-teacher craziness.

Please schools (the ones that help teachers find apartments or have new teachers move into school-owned housing), the best thing you can do to help out your new staff is to think ahead and somehow get the internet set up in their houses…before they arrive or VERY soon after they arrive.

Well we cannot say that having the internet is more important than clean drinking water or getting running electricity to your place, but it is definitely in the top five things that you would most like to have set up immediately after your arrival.

Getting the internet set up in another country can go very smoothly in some more developed countries where you can speak the local language, but getting the internet set up, on your own, in a country where you don’t speak the local language can prove to be one of the top most stressful moments for you after your arrival.  Maybe the internet company has an employee who can speak in English forinternet_installation you, but their English might not be at the fluent level that you are desiring!

Let’s not forgot though how much trouble there can be trying to get the internet set up in your home country.  Things can be less than ideal there as well, and it can take weeks sometime.

If only somehow international schools could help out their new expat teachers just a tiny bit more with regards to their forthcoming internet crisis.  The solution is simple: somebody in charge of new teacher orientation gets access to the new teacher’s flat and after calling the local phone/internet company, get the internet all set up and ready before the teacher arrives.  That solution doesn’t seem to be happening though at most placements.  Another solution is to set up a time that a local employee at the school can help call the phone/internet company for you to set up the time for them to come to your house (of course, in the local language!).

Once your internet is finally set up, at least some of your stress will be alleviated. Then you can finally check your email, contact your friends and family, download your favorite home country tv programs, and get updated and post an update on Facebook (unless you are in China that is without VPN access!).

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Hopefully too you are living in a country where they are known for having very fast internet!  If you find that your internet is very slow, don’t forget to ask your phone/internet company about the specifics of their package options.  In some countries there is actually an option to pay more for faster internet.  Better to know that sooner than later, after a year or so of torturing yourself (and unfortunately getting used to) with slow internet.

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So, does your international school help new teachers get access to the internet AS FAST AS POSSIBLE!?  Please share your experiences!

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