Member Spotlights

Member Spotlight #41: Jess Gosling (An international teacher working in Taiwan)

August 16, 2021


Every so often International School Community is looking to highlight one of our members in our Member Spotlight blog category.  This month we interviewed Jess Gosling:

Tell us about your background.  Where are you from?

Hi, my name is Jess Gosling and I’ve been living and working abroad for more than 10 years. I am from England, originally born in the South-East. I moved to the North of England when I started university and I consider the North-East my home. Travel has always interested me and my first overseas trip backpacking was when I was just 16, with a best friend. We took the ferry from Wales and toured Ireland staying with relatives. I didn’t think this was especially unusual at the time, but now I realise this was pretty adventurous! My next trip abroad was at 19. I saved for a year to pay for a five-month trip around South East Asia. I meticulously planned it, reading the Lonely Planet from cover to cover. Once in Thailand, I loved almost every moment. I was crushed when it came to the end of the trip. I have always been interested in other cultures, and feel most connected and alive when abroad.

However, I returned to the UK to study for a degree in History and Race and Ethnic Studies. During the degree, I spent one semester in California and travelled in Central and South America. After completing the degree, I worked again for a year to save to fund beginning my first overseas job in Japan. I knew I would need money for the first weeks and furnishing a new home. I was very keen to see what teaching would be like. I joined a programme that offered teachers with degrees the opportunity to become Assistant Language Teachers (ALTs). There was nothing ‘assisting’ in the role. In reality, I planned, created resources, and taught independently. I taught in fourteen local primary schools throughout Niigata, a city with almost no expats. This placement was fascinating, a city nestled between mountains and a beach. In the evening, after work, I’d go for a swim in the sea. At the weekends I’d drive through the surrounding mountains.

After a year in Niigata, I transferred to an area just outside Tokyo where I worked in ten primary schools. There was a fantastic expat community here and I made friends for life! The work was fun but exhausting. I knew I loved teaching, especially in the younger years. Living in Japan was eye-opening and a first taste of living outside of the UK. Working in local Primary schools was rewarding and interesting, but I felt that I didn’t know enough about my profession to do it justice. Hence, I decided to return to the UK to train to become a qualified teacher and move abroad again.

How did you get started in the international teaching community?

I decided to return home to qualify to teach, through the Post Graduate Certificate in Education (PGCE) route. Before beginning the PGCE, I worked as a teaching assistant within Year 2 and Reception classes in a state-maintained school, which was a brilliant experience. I was able to observe teachers closely and I learnt a lot about classroom management. I completed the PGCE and worked two further years in the UK and gained QTS. After a total of three and a half years at home, I married and moved with my teacher husband to Egypt for our first experience teaching abroad in international schools. Whilst in Egypt, I experienced the H1N1 panic (akin to the pandemic we experience now) and resulting school closures, in addition to the Arab Revolution, it certainly was a baptism of fire!

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.

My first school was Cairo English School. It was a great place to work. I worked in Foundation Stage, which was the largest intake of the school, with 16 classes in Nursery and Reception! However, although it was a huge cohort, it felt like a community and the staff were close. The second school I worked at was in Vietnam, the ABC International School. This school was smaller, with approximately three classes per year group, on separate campuses for infants and juniors. One Headteacher I worked for there made it his mission to have ‘fun’ experience days for the children, which included a circus day and on Chinese New Year, dragons and performers came to the playground. He was such a lively spirit, I remember seeing him trying to outdo the children waiting for their bus by standing on one leg. It’s lovely to see management with a sense of fun and interacting with children on their level. In Taipei, I have loved working within Reception. We have developed our activities to be hands-on and experiential. We developed language through the five senses, which included bringing in animals.

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

The Taiwanese take hiking very seriously. They are always fully kitted out with walking sticks, expensive sporting wear, and large hats. I usually meet them just wearing shorts and a tee-shirt, sunscreen too if I remember it. When our paths meet (literally) they are always exceptionally friendly and it’s nice to get a greeting, often with an excellent English accent! Out and about in Taipei city, this never happens.

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

This is a great question and one I discuss in-depth in my book. A good management team is very important to me, representative of gender and diversity. This team should listen to their staff and take on suggestions and feedback. They should not be afraid to share their power and celebrate their staff’s strengths. Then, I would look at the school ethos and how they work in practice. I like schools that work on developing the whole child and have a family feel. Furthermore, I love when schools embrace becoming ‘eco’ schools with gardens and working within the local and wider community. Then, I would consider the environment in which I would live. At this age and stage of my life, I would like to live near other families, so my daughter can have a social life close by outside of school. These priorities are very different from when I first started teaching. Then, my focus was on location.

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

Exciting, interesting, mind-opening experience.

teacher

Thanks, Jess!

Jess Gosling is an international teacher who has recently authored, ‘Becoming a Successful International Teacher: A Step-by-Step Concise Guide to International Teaching’. She can be contacted via her website and regularly tweets at JessGosling2.

If you are a member of International School Community and would like to be our next member spotlight, contact us here.  After we highlight you, you will receive one year free of premium access to our website!

Interested in comparing the schools and comments in Egypt. Check out our blog post here.

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Information for Members

Become the ‘Mayor’ of Your School and Get Unlimited Free Premium Membership!

December 14, 2020


Our mission for the International School Community website is to have the most updated information about what it is like to work at the numerous international schools around the world. One way to help us achieve that mission is to have Mayors.

Being a Mayor is super easy, and the best part is that you get unlimited free premium membership to our website!

Mayor Responsibilities:

• Submit at least 3-6 new comments on your school every 1-2 months (on the 66 different comment topics). It takes like 5-8 minutes of your time to do this. It will take a Mayor 2 years to submit one comment in all 66 comment topics.

• Make sure to check on your school’s Wall and occasionally post updates about their school (any big changes to the school that are happening, good tips to know about, recent events at the schools, etc.)

• Make sure that their school has the most updated and correct information (e.g. basic info, links, Facebook page, Youtube video, etc.) on the Overview and Social Media tabs.

• Submit job vacancies that are currently available at your school.

Here are just a few of the almost 700+ schools that have or have had a Mayor on our website:

Western International School of Shanghai (Shanghai, China) – 481 Comments

NIST International School (Bangkok, Thailand) – 298 Comments

Tarsus American College (Mersin, Turkey) – 222 Comments

Canadian International School (Hong Kong) (Hong Kong, China) – 155 Comments

American School Foundation of Monterrey (Monterrey, Mexico) – 129 Comments

Concordia International School (Shanghai) (Shanghai, China) – 180 Comments

Yongsan International School of Seoul (Seoul, South Korea) – 140 Comments

Copenhagen International School (Copenhagen, Denmark) – 387 Comments

Seoul Foreign School (Seoul, South Korea) – 172 Comments

American International School Dhaka (Dhaka, Bangladesh) – 113 Comments

International School of Kuala Lumpur (Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia) – 135 Comments

Tsinghua International School (Beijing) (Beijing, China) – 176 Comments

Hong Kong International School (Hong Kong, China) – 148 Comments

The more Mayors that we have on our website means the more our members will be informed; as there will be more up-to-date information on the schools they want to know about!

Become the Mayor of a school you work at (or have worked at) today!

Screenshot 2015-10-20 18.23.34

Please note that being the Mayor of a school is anonymous and that all comments and job vacancies submitted on our website are also done so anonymously. Posting on the school profile page wall though is not anonymous.

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Information for Members

Top 40 International Schools with the Most ISC Members (UPDATE)

December 6, 2020


How many times have you applied to a school wishing that you knew somebody that worked there?

Knowing somebody and getting the ‘inside scoop’ on an international school could definitely help you in your quest to set up an interview there.

At International School Community, we made that search for ‘informed people’ even easier with our Top 40 Schools with the Most Members page.

Currently, our top 40 international schools with the most members are (6 December 2020):

30 members – American International School in Egypt

24 members – Copenhagen International School
24 members – Western International School of Shanghai
22 members International School of Kuala Lumpur
22 members – International School Manila
21 members – MEF International School Istanbul
19 members – International School of Tanganyika
19 members – Jakarta Intercultural School

19 members – Seoul Foreign School
19 members – Seoul International School
18 members – Fairview International School
18 members – Brent International School Manila
17 members – Graded School Sao Paulo
17 members – Shanghai United International School (Hongqiao)
16 members – American School Foundation of Mexico City

17 members – International School Bangkok
17 members – Nazarbayev Intellectual School of Astana
17 members – Shanghai Community International School
16 members – American School of Barcelona
16 membersGood Shepherd International School
16 members – Cairo American College
16 members – American International School of Johannesburg
16 members – United Nations International School (Vietnam)
16 membersInternational School Dhaka

16 members – Qatar Academy (Doha)
15 members – Istanbul International Community School
15 members – Singapore American School
15 members NIST International School
15 membersAmerican International School Dhaka
15 membersSuzhou Singapore International School
15 members – American School of Dubai
14 membersInternational School of Phnom Penh (ISPP)
14 members – KIS International School (Bangkok)

14 members – Yokohama International School
14 members – Hong Kong International School
14 members – International School Panama
14 members – International School Beijing
14 membersWestern Academy of Beijing
14 membersAmerican International School (Vietnam)
14 members – Shanghai American School – Pudong

With 100-200 new members joining each month, this list will continue to grow and grow; with even more members showing up as potential people to network with.

It is simple to network on our website: just click on a member and then click on the ‘Contact this member’ button (premium member feature).  Then write him/her a message.  When your message is sent, the other member will get an email alert letting them know that they have a new message waiting for them on our website (so, hopefully he/she will get back to you in a timely manner!). Numerous International School Community members have already taken advantage of this unique feature on our website!

international schools

As far as we know, International School Community is the one of the only websites where you can quickly and easily network with real people at a specific international school.  Meaning, if you want to get in touch with somebody from Suzhou Singapore International School in China and you are currently a premium member of International School Community, you now have 15 members that you can contact on our website that either work there now or have worked there in the past.  Get the answers to your questions; now that is easy networking!

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Information for Members

Member Search Feature Update: Which Job Titles Do Our 19546+ Members Have?

October 8, 2020


We are getting more and more members every month. Currently, we have over 19546 (up 4369 members since January 2019). We are definitely the place to go for networking with other international school educators!

Out of these thousands of members, we have teachers who hold many types of positions.  Check out our Members’ Job Titles page to see how many we have in each of these positions.

Using the data from this page, here are the current Members’ Job Titles statistics: (8 October, 2020)

39 Activities Coordinators – (up 4)
13 Admission Coordinators – (up 1)
11 Admissions Director – (up 4)
107 Art Teachers – (up 28)
66 Assistant Principals – (up 15)
88 Biology Teachers – (up 19)

28 Business Office Workers – (up 2)
87 Chemistry Teachers – (up 23)
878 Classroom Teachers – (up 146)
19 Communications Workers – (up 2)
106 Counselors – (up 24)
132 Curriculum Coordinators – (up 30)

187 Department Heads – (up 38)
19 Development Coordinator – (up 5)
35 Drama Teachers – (up 4)
59 Economics Teachers – (up 11)
307 English Teachers – (up 58)
260 EAL Teachers – (up 43)

176 Foreign Language Teachers – (up 31)
20 Geography Teachers – (up 1)
117 Heads of School/Directors – (up 24)
78 History Teachers – (up 12)
105 ICT Teachers – (up 25)
7 Interns – (up 0)

75 Librarians – (up 16)
33 Marketing Workers – (up 5)
213 Math Teachers – (up 42)
90 Music Teachers – (up 16)
6 Nurses – (same)
303 Other – (up 58)

121 P.E. Teachers (up 33)
61 Physics Teachers – (up 13)
134 Principals – (up 33)
18 Psychology Teachers – (up 8)
95 Science Teachers – (up 12)
9 Secretaries – (up 3)

75 Social Studies Teachers – (up 12)
98 Special Needs Teachers – (up 23)
9 Speech Pathologists – (up 0)
44 Teaching Assistants – (up 14)

Biggest increases: Dept. Heads, Classroom Teachers, English Teachers, EAL Teachers, Math, Foreign Language Teachers and Principals.

Want to get a job at an international school in one of these positions? Log-on to International School Community and start contacting our members to get answers to your questions.  Many of our members definitely know about the life of an international school teacher at the schools they currently work at and the schools they have worked at in the past.

So where in the world do our current members live?  The members, who have stated so on their profile, currently live in the following regions of the world:

419 that are currently located in Asia – (up 99)
53 that are currently located in Caribbean – (up 9)
61 that are currently located in Central America – (up 15)
851 that are currently located in East Asia – (up 177)
201 that are currently located in Eastern/Central Europe – (up 36)
549 that are currently located in Middle East – (up 93)
116 that are currently located in North Africa – (up 25)
1007 that are currently located in North America – (up 114)
166 that are currently located in Oceania – (up 19)
758 that are currently located in South East Asia – (up 142)
172 that are currently located in South America – (up 38)
248 that are currently located in Sub-Saharan Africa – (up 68)
807 that are currently located in Western Europe – (up 109)

Looks like North America is still in the lead!  We recommend that all our members keep their profile as up to date as possible, so that their networking possibilities can be at their highest. Update yours today.

Check out all of our 19547+ members here.  If you are not a member yet, sign up here for free!

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Information for Members

Every member has FREE access to ALL comments on our website: The ‘Browse All Comments’ page! (UPDATE)

June 7, 2020


Sometimes it is fun to just see what life is like at all the international schools in the world.  Even if you don’t have the slightest interest in working at a specific international school or in a specific place in the world, you still might be curious to see what the benefits there are (for example).  Maybe you are curious about how the weather is there or what the city life is like.  We are also always curious to know what it is like to work at the school itself and how the campus really is.

In turn, the ‘Browse All Comments‘ page.

Right now we have a total of 36702 comments and information on 1145+ international schools listed on our website (out of a total of 2153 schools listed).

There are four comment sections on each school profile pages:

• School Information – Total Comments = 17112 (up 2568 comments from February 2019)
• Benefits Information – Total Comments = 11383 (up 2896 comments from February 2019)
• City Information – Total Comments = 5800 (up 1215 comments from February 2019)
• Travel Information – Total Comments = 2449 (up 524 comments from February 2019)

Want to see all these comments in ONE spot?  Now you can!

The ‘Browse All Comments‘ homepage will always be a random selection of 12 comments from our database of school profile comments.  To view the next 12 comments, just click on the ‘Browse next 12 comments’ button.  Continue clicking on that button to view all 36742+ comments on our website!

Have fun taking a look at all the comments and information that have been submitted by our over 18839 members.

Who knows? Maybe you will see a useful and/or interesting comment that will catch your attention.  If you find one, just click on the school’s name to go to its profile page where you can read even more comments that have been submitted on that school (available to premium members only).

Maybe you will be so interested that you will take a look at the school’s website and find a position vacancy that fits you perfectly.  We can only dream that would happen to us (never too soon to start networking for your next position)!

What are you waiting for then? Browse away!

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