It is a time of celebration for International School Community as we now have over 24000 members on our website!
To celebrate our 24000+ members, all members can get 25% off of all premium membership subscriptions from 1 – 7 October, 2022 (ending 23:59 PST on 7 Oct, 2022).
The 25% off coupon code is: OKT2225O
Even if you are a member with Premium Membership already right now, you can still add more premium membership during this promotion. Just login to our website and go to the Manage Subscription page, choose the membership option that you’d like and then enter this coupon code (OKT2225O). Next click on the Make a Payment button to pay either with your PayPal account or without logging in to PayPal and just paying with your credit card.
Once you have premium membership access, 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!
International School Community’s website launched back in February 2011. When our first newsletter came out in May 2011, we only had 49 members! On average, we have been getting over 300-400 people signing up to become new members each month. We hope this trend continues! The more members we have, the more people you have to network with.
International School Community’s goal is to be the largest online community for international schools educators. Our website provides a useful, informative and celebratory environment for networking with other international school teachers and learning about different international schools around the world.
We created a website that would highlight the ins and outs of working at international schools (the benefits, the school itself, the city and travel information, etc.).
Another major goal of this website is to provide experienced teachers the platform to share what they know so that prospective and seasoned international school teachers can make more informed decisions as they venture out to a new international school. Making connections and gathering information about international schools in our community has never been easier! Whether you are looking to make new friends, network with other international school teachers or learn more about the wonderful world of teaching at international schools, International School Community is the place to be.
We want members to provide real information that is specific; information that is related to all the different topics we need to know about before signing a contract. International School Community offers up-to-date information in a highly organized, easy-to-use manner.
We also offer a vast amount of information and links related to the world of teaching at international schools and education in general via our blog.
You can search our vast collection of international school profile pages to find that specific international school you want to know about. You can also search our member profiles and be able to find a contact to send a private message to so that you can get firsthand information about a school that member has worked at.
While the focus of the site is to serve the international school teaching community by providing real and useful information about international schools, we have specifically organized our website to promote our members to leave comments and information that are useful for everyone. Enjoy being an active member of our website!
We strive to have the largest collection of resources and services for the international teaching community. International School Community really wants to take writing reviews and comments about international schools to the next level.
Here are what some of our current members are saying about International School Community:
“It’s really useful…it’s a really good way to find out practical info about schools when you’re looking for jobs. If you are interested in particular schools, you can just contact any member from that school to find out insider info! It’s also good if you just want to find out what life is like for teachers in other cities! Really unique idea!” (An international teacher in China)
“International School Community is a great resource for international school teachers. Whether you are doing research for a new job, or just connecting with other teachers, this site is has a plethora of great information. I especially love that this site has a positive feel to it, rather than a place for teachers to vent. I really recommend registering to be a part of this great idea.” (An international teacher in South Korea)
“You have an amazingly wonderful website and seeing these comments is extremely helpful to me.” (A teacher looking to teach abroad at international schools)
“I am very impressed for a website to take the time to do this. You have a great resource that I certainly could have used when I first set off overseas teaching in 1998!! The site works well and it is nice to get a good background on almost every school I’d wish to work in. You are doing a fantastic job with your website, keep it up!” (A veteran international school teacher)
“I truly love being an international educator and researching and comparing schools, as well as discovering great schools that aren’t as well-known. I am grateful for ISC having a platform that makes it all so easy.” (Another veteran international school teacher)continue reading
Every school year, a school always goes through some new changes or simply experiences new things that the staff is now required to do or complete. The changes could be related to the school’s curriculum, some new professional development based on new initiatives, new building procedures (like fire drills), new mandatory training (like child protection), etc.
For many things (like ones actually dictated by the host country), they are mandatory and the admin simply just needs to fit those required things into their yearly meeting schedule. Combine those required things with the other things and initiatives that a school wants to do, it can make for a sometimes stressful school year for the staff (and admin!). Furthermore, balancing these new things with your normal planning work and actually teaching students can prove to be very challenging.
So what are some of these new initiatives that international schools are focusing on in recent years?
A number of international schools are having their staff work with the Managebac program. There are 97+ comments related to Managebac on our website.
It’s also fairly certain that your school is now or will very soon be going through an accreditation. ISC has 525+ total comments related to school accreditation on 351 international schools at the moment.
With regards to curriculum, it appears that a number of schools are doing training with the Common Core curriculum. There are 45 comments that are about the different schools taking on this in recent years.
And the list goes on…
What is a possible plan then for balancing all of these newly added things so that staff and admin don’t get too overwhelmed? As one ISC member wrote about working at United Nations International School (Vietnam), “the [needs to be a] conscious adoption of a “less is more” ethos.”
Luckily, International School Community has a comment topic on our school profile pages related to this topic of new things added at a school. Our members can share what current international schools are doing in this topic. There are a total of 1007 comments (Sept. 2022) that have been submitted by our veteran international school teachers in one of the 68 comment topics called – “Recent things that the school has taken on (i.e. new curriculum, specific professional development, etc.).”
Here are a few of those submitted comments:
“The use of Kagan cooperative structures is the focus for this year. The entire faculty had 2 days of training before the commencement of the school year with another session upcoming later in the year. The goal being student engagement. Most of the faculty have been receptive and are already using the structures in their classrooms…” – Seoul Foreign School (Seoul, South Korea) – 231 Total Comments
“The school just finished a multi-year curriculum initiative designed to put the entire Pre-K through 12th-grade curriculum documents onto Rubicon Atlas. The school seems to focus most on literacy in the Lower School, innovation and design in the Middle School, and IB/AP in the Upper School. School-wide, there is a focus on Differentiated Instruction, but this takes different forms in different divisions. There is a new Head of School coming in for the 2018-2019 school year…” – American School of Paris (Paris, France) – 68 Comments
“The administration said they care more about kids learning English and Maths rather than any other subjects. What makes the school unique, seems independent of what they are pursuing; bring more local students no matter what their academic level is…” – Changchun American International School (Changchun, China) – 168 Total Comments
“Professional development this year has included IBDP two-day Category 3 in-school workshops on the Extended Essay and Theory of Knowledge. All staff also completed a Stewards of Children online course and a one-day first aid and CPR course…” – Tsukuba International School (Tsukuba, Japan) – 58 Comments
“The school has offered, over the past two years, very little in terms of professional development. There has been talk of a curriculum change to the Cambridge Primary Curriculum for September 2018…” – Cambridge School Doha (Doha, Qatar) – 85 Comments
“The school is just setting up a Professional Learning Centre to improve instruction and practice at the school first. The school has designated professional learning time on Friday afternoons and encourages professional development…” – YK Pao School (Shanghai, China) – 61 Commentscontinue reading
Learn as much as possible about the host country in order to have realistic expectations.
How much can you learn about a host country before you arrive? Yes, thank goodness for the internet and its endless (and sometimes tiresome) list of websites that try and shed light on the many facets of the host country’s culture and language.
A type of website that might be the most informative: personal blogs of expats that live in the host country. Certainly, they are the best type of website to gather information about the host country. The blogger typically is very explicit and candid about their day-to-day experiences living there. Personal blogs of international teachers are even better. I love reading from their entries even before they arrive in their new country to when they have been there three years later. Some of the international teacher blogs that we have highlighted on International School Community so far:
• Education Rickshaw (China)
• Expat Heather (South Korea)
• Josefino Rivera (Bulgaria)
But I must say that I knew close to nothing about the country I am currently in, and the people from where I am from knew even less. Sometimes you just got to go there yourself to see about the culture and language of the host country’s people. When I go home now, I am inundated with questions about what life is like there…and some of the questions are really unbelievable (but I was once in their shoes I’m sure).
I think it is hard to get away from the stereotypes that we have about each culture group in the world. The issue is, as we all know, that the stereotype might actually be true for the majority of the people in the host country. However, it is NOT true for EVERYONE in the country. You cannot group everyone in one culture group together. I just read recently that due to the Danish cultural norms Danes don’t try and make good friends with people that they work with. I’m sure that there are a few Danes that hang out with their co-workers outside of work and call them their best friends.
Realistic expectations? This will take some good research I think. Every time I go to a new location, one of the things I do is buy the latest Lonely Planet for that country/city. For sure after reading a bit of that travel book I can have my expectations be a tiny be more realistic, if not even make them a bit more exciting. I don’t know about you though, but I am quite sensitive to culture shock. So, even if I have realistic expectations and am ready to expect the unexpected, I am still subjected to embarrassing mood swings about the things that in theory I had already expected. One of the joys of living abroad I suppose. By the way, I subscribe to the idea of cherishing all emotions: the good and the not-so-good.
Last thing that I know about how to find out the most I can about my future host country: talk to people that currently work at the school. Not the administrator, the human resources department, etc…the real people that work there who will really tell you how it is. I’ve always received a few contact email addresses of some teachers that I can contact during the summer. I have even had a Skype call with one of them which really helped I think get my expectations to be a little more realistic. It is key to talk to people and gather as much information as possible.
This article was submitted by a guest author and ISC member.
Right now on International School Community you can get in contact with a number of our members who know about more than 1300+ international schools, and the list of schools our members know about is growing!continue reading
Stressing out about what your new international school is actually going to be like once you finally arrive?
Want to get a good idea of what you can expect (or not expect) during your first few weeks at your new international school?
Wondering what you can do before and after your move to put yourself more at ease and to be better prepared?
Take some time then to read this 14-part series on the ISC blog. It is the go-to series for staff in charge of inducting their new staff members.
Here are the 14 must-haves with a little excerpt of each article:
1. “A trip around the city
“A friend just told me that there is a hidden rule amongst international school teachers, and that is that you shouldn’t accept any visitors to your new home within the first six months of living there. I suppose that is true in some ways and not true in other ways. One time I did have a friend visit me during…” READ MORE
2. A pick-up from the airport from administration
“To start things off right, it might be the most ideal if the person who hired you picks you up from the airport when you first arrive. Starting off on the right note is very important for an international school teacher, especially when you are bound to experience a bit of culture shock. One way to start off in the right way is how you get…” READ MORE
3. Lunches provided by the school during the orientation week at the school campus.
“Having a catered, home (cafeteria)-cooked lunch is NOT a given when you start working at an international school. Some international schools include free lunches in their benefits package all year round (for all teachers mind you!), but some international schools don’t offer this benefit…not even during PD events or during new teacher orientation. It is definitely a nice gesture on the school’s part to offer…” READ MORE
4. Help finding a place to live!
“Finding a place to live in any country can be a headache! When you involve different languages, different cultural traditions and norms, etc. finding an apartment can be even more of a headache. In turn, it is much appreciated if the administration/business staff at your new school can help you out. Some international schools just place you in a compound that the school owns and you must live there for…” READ MORE
5. An organized trip to help you get furniture for your new home.
“It is not ideal to arrive the first day/night in your new host city only to arrive at your new apartment and find it VERY unfurnished. It doesn’t necessarily start you on the right foot with regards to settling-in with your new life when maybe you do not even have a bed on which to sleep. For sure there are many international schools out there that place their new teachers directly into…” READ MORE
6. A settling-in allowance given to you in cash (local currency)!
“You just get off the airplane. You have what seem to be a million bags with you. You are quite tired from your long flight journey to your new host country. You are frantically looking for the person that said that they were going to pick you up from the airport. You find them and they bring you to your new place that will be your home for the next few years. So many things on your mind, so many things to worry about, and SO many things to buy…” READ MORE
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…” READ MORE
8. A starter supply of groceries for your new home.
“Luckily, many international schools out there are getting this one right. Someone in the “new teacher orientation” committee is going out to a grocery store before you arrive and getting you the basic necessities for you. What are the basic necessities? Typically you get some…” READ MORE
9. Resource person with a contact number and email address
“There is so much going on for international school teachers in their first days, weeks, and even months after starting at their new school. There is just as much going on for you before you arrive in your new host country. Being that there is so much to think about, one of the most important things that international schools can do for their new hires is set up so that they have a resource person. New teachers actually need…” READ MORE
10. Getting access to the internet AS FAST AS POSSIBLE!
“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…” READ MORE
11. Beginning-level host country language classes.
“At 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…” READ MORE
12. A tour of your new campus
“Finally 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…” READ MORE
13. Learning how to get reimbursed and meeting the business office staff
“It takes so much money to move yourself from one place to another. Now add in the fact that you are shipping boxes and whatnot half way across the world, and the cost just gets higher and higher. Many times, international school teachers need to pay for these shipping costs upfront. Hopefully you are getting an relocation allowance…” READ MORE
14. A sit-down with an admin to go over each part of your contract
“Contract details can be easily overlooked. They are not overlooked because you are not interested in them (because of course you want to know ALL the details when you are in the initial stages after being offered a contract), but because there are too many fine details to fully understand everything you see…” READ MORE
Do you have another must-have to add to our list? Email us here and ask about submitting a new article for this series as a guest author on our blog. All guest authors receive one free year of premium membership to our website!continue reading
Traveling Around: Sicily
Can you relate?
The Bilingual School of Monza – 29 Comments
International School Florence – 34 Comments
American Overseas School of Rome – 40 Comments
Bilingual European School of Milan – 79 Comments
St. Stephens School Rome – 29 Comments
Westminster International School– 29 Comments
If you are on a trip right now, away from your host country, write to us here with your “Can you relate?” traveling experiences. Tell us where you are traveling in the world, what you are seeing, and how you are coping with any culture shock. Once your Traveling Around experience is posted on our blog, International School Community will give you 6 free months of premium membership!continue reading