International School Community is full of thousands of useful, informative comments…44256 comments (30 May 2022) to be exact.
Members are recommended to keep their comments objective on our website, and sometimes they need to share how it really is working at their international school.
We scoured our database of comments, and we found 12 that stood out to us as being some of the most controversial.
12. Has the school met your expectations once you started working there?
“Disorganised. Micromanagement from leaders who haven’t been teaching a range of schools before. Limited experience from Tier 1 schools which reflects the disorganization and reactive rather than proactive approach to problems. Leadership runs to stomp down teachers, bully them and drain their enthusiasm for teaching. AOBA has a huge staff turnover, which was a question that I asked when interviewed. I was told a very low turnover rate until I turned up and was met with a large new teaching cohort. Leadership sees good teachers, and lies to get them because they know that what they offer is not good enough for the truth-telling of how this school is actually run…” – Aoba Japan International School (Tokyo, Japan) – 49 Comments
11. Details about the teaching contract. What important things should prospective teachers know about?
“The ONLY contract that matters is the teacher’s contract with the government of Azerbaijan, and that is for one year and one year only. The “2-year” that is issued by the school? It’s not worth the paper it is written on. The business office regularly ignores sections of that contract that it finds inconvenient! Coming from a country where contracts are considered sacrosanct, that was a shocking realization…” – European Azerbaijan School (Baku, Azerbaijan) – 7 Comments
10. What controversies have been happening lately? Please be objective.
“Leaders have been fired without any forewarning shocking leaders and staff. Replacements were hired who are not trusted or have a reputation for being unpleasant. Student leaders behaved in a manner this year that caused a great number of problems for staff, parents, and admin. This is not a new behavior but rather part of the school persona and spirit…” – Tarsus American College (Mersin, Turkey) – 278 Comments
9. What insider information would you give to a teacher considering working at this school?
“This is a top-down working environment and your professional opinion is not expected or valued. Smile, agree and do your best to follow through with all directives. Lay low and never make ripples, much less waves. This is a great place for 1st ever international teachers, but an unacceptable post for professional international educators…” – American International School (Abu Dhabi) (Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates) – 97 Comments
8. Has the school met your expectations once you started working there?
“No, Not at all. There is no PAY SCALE as promised. Teachers even don’t get paid what they should get paid when inflation rises. Salaries stay the same every year. no way you can discuss this further with your HOD or director. Different building with more facilities was said to change, during my interview. During Covid, online teaching they cut salaries. Can you believe that? We spent more time in organising online learning and then they cut salaries! Flexibility only comes from one side in this school. I would not recommend this school to any teacher nor student!!!!” – International School Ruhr (Essen, Germany) – 65 Comments
7. Has the school met your expectations once you started working there?
“No, the interview process was great yet when I joined there were clashes of values and I was constantly asked to stop and ‘listen’ (listen in the sense of ‘do what I say’ rather than ‘listen’ from the heart to hear and incorporate perspectives). As a creative person with ambition and well-read and connected, I had to keep lowering expectations until I felt there was no way I could continue working here. I had a completely different ethic, based on quality international school standards. I was highly disappointed by the lack of innovative thinking and the authoritarian and competitive feel of the majority of the leaders. I think the school is too American and not enough “international”. the culture was not healthy…” – Anglo American School of Sofia (Sofia, Bulgaria) – 74 Comments
6. Pension plan details.
“It is not a pension. Due to Brazilian law, each teacher pays 8% of their salary each month into a guarantee fund. This is more or less an unemployment insurance. At the end of your contract, the school agrees to “fire” you, so you can access that fund. Based on the exchange rate at that time, it can vary in USD. At the beginning of my contract is was estimated around $12,000. But, now it will be much closer to $7,000. There is no way to know how much it will actually be in the end…” – American School of Belo Horizonte (Belo Horizonte, Brazil) – 78 Comments
5. Has the school met your expectations once you started working there?
“The school has changed severely since the new head of school started this school year. 6 people had been fired so far, the morale is really low, there is a fear of “who will be the next”. The environment is not healthy at all…” – Benjamin Franklin International School (Barcelona, Spain) – 116 Comments
4. Has the school met your expectations once you started working there?
“My first impression of the school was that it was warm, welcoming, and compassionate. I thought I would truly matter as an employee – I was eager to find a school with a family-like atmosphere that I could make home. The family-like atmosphere is a total illusion. Employees are expendable. HR put out a health survey to prepare for Covid-19. Anyone (local staff and teaching assistants) seen as expendable that marked that they were at a higher risk of Covid on that survey was fired at the end of the school year. The motto for the year was “We Are One.” The irony was not lost on the foreign staff with this. Generally, the moment you have a differing opinion, an issue, or a criticism, you are treated like garbage. This school is the epitome of the term “toxic positivity…” – School of the Nations (Brasilia) (Brasilia, Brazil) – 41 Comments
3. Are the expectations high of teaching staff? Are there extracurricular responsibilities? Describe workload details.
“Workload has increased, as teachers have been fired/let go… those remaining are regularly requested to cover (during their planning periods) for those who are out sick…” – Lahore American School (Lahore, Pakistan) – 193 Comments
2. Average monthly salary after taxes and in what currency (explain taxation situation). How often do you get paid throughout the year?
“This is a great school with a fantastic community of teachers and staff. Such a shame that the owners will ignore the contract and refuse to pay health insurance above a yearly total of $180 per year, but then use the poor wording in the contract to cheat other people out of their final month’s salary. Beware if you want to work here…” – Sekolah Victory Plus (Jakarta, Indonesia) – 143 Comments
1. Average monthly salary after taxes and in what currency (explain taxation situation). How often do you get paid throughout the year?
“No raise last year and I believe no raise this year as well…. Makes you wonder if the school is having some issues…” – Seoul Foreign School (Seoul, South Korea) – 226 Comments
If you have an interesting story in your school that you would like to share, log in to International School Community and submit your comments. For every 10 submitted comments, you will get one month of free premium membership added to your account!continue reading
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!
And ANYONE can be the Mayor of their school. Most of our active Mayors are just regular teachers at their schools, but we also have heads of schools, HR representatives, principals, etc. as Mayors as well.
Mayors are commenting on the school and the benefits information, but they also comment on the city and travel information of the country as well. Mayors also don’t need to represent all aspects and perspectives of the school. They are recommended to just share their experience and perspective on living and working at that international school and in that city/country.
• Submit at least 3-6 new comments on your school every 1-2 months (on the 68 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 68 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 your 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.
• Western International School of Shanghai (Shanghai, China) – 547 Comments
• NIST International School (Bangkok, Thailand) – 304 Comments
• Tarsus American College (Mersin, Turkey) – 278 Comments
• Canadian International School (Hong Kong) (Hong Kong, China) – 168 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) – 145 Comments
• Copenhagen International School (Copenhagen, Denmark) – 414 Comments
• Seoul Foreign School (Seoul, South Korea) – 223 Comments
• American International School Dhaka (Dhaka, Bangladesh) – 130 Comments
• International School of Kuala Lumpur (Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia) – 135 Comments
• Tsinghua International School (Beijing) (Beijing, China) – 193 Comments
• Hong Kong International School (Hong Kong, China) – 157 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 an international school that you work at today!
* 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.continue reading
It has been a couple of years since we launched this unique ISC premium feature, the Compare Schools page!
Our members are always looking to compare one international school to another. Using the 43464+ comments that our ISC Mayors have also helped to submit, we are excited to have an ISC page where you can compare two international schools based on eight pre-selected comment topics. Maybe the results will help you make the important decision of signing a contract with one of them!
So, here is how it works. When you select two schools from the drop-down menus, you will be able to compare the following eight comment topics:
Additionally, once you have selected two of the listed schools (here is an example), you can see a point score that each school received for each of the 8 comment topics. The total score for each school is also displayed, clearly showing the “winner” with the most points.
Of course, the score is based on teacher-submitted comments/reviews, therefore it is subjective. But having in mind that multiple teachers are submitting comments, we believe that this unique ISC page reflects the realistic situation at a specific school.
At the moment, we have 145+ schools available to be compared. We usually add a new school to the list every two weeks or so. If your school is already listed, please have a look at each displayed comment and assigned score. If you would like us to improve some of the comments or scores, write to us here.
However, if your school is not listed yet, we need your help to get it added! Please write to us by contacting us via our Help and Support page with the details for each section and your suggested score for each comment topic. Or just submit some new comments on your school profile page and we will add your school to our Compare Schools page.
Thank you in advance for your feedback and support in making this feature the best it can be. It is truly a unique feature to help people gather information and analyze it so that they can make the best decisions for themselves when working in the international school community.continue reading
The journey to work is indeed an important one. The journey though is not so clear for international school teachers when they are looking for jobs at schools in cities/countries to which they have never been.
On the ISC blog, we have a blog category called The Journey to School. It discusses the ins and outs of how international school teachers get to work/school in many countries around the world.
Nobody wants a horrible journey to work. Long journeys can really waste away your day (if your journey is one hour each way, for example). In some schools you need to use public transport, other schools you need your own car. It is possible that some teachers actually can take the school bus along with the students at their school. Usually, that is free, so that can be nice. Also, it can stop teachers from working long hours as you need to be ready to go home when the school bus leaves!
In some countries and at certain international schools, your journey can be one that has very nice things to look at. How wonderful to have some beautiful scenery to look at as you get your mind ready for a day of work. On the other hand, it can be that teachers at some international schools are just going on a highway with views of boring high-rise apartment buildings with very little nature to look at.
Another way to get to work is to ride your bike or just walk. For teachers who’d like to get a bit of exercise in their daily routine, this can be quite a good setup!
We currently have 23 journeys listed in The Journey to School blog category. We have listed them all here:
Anglo American School of Sofia
Xian Hi-Tech International School
Singapore American School
Leysin American School
American International School in Egypt
Ruamrudee International School Bangkok
Western International School of Shanghai
Chatsworth International School (Singapore)
So what is your journey to the international school you work at? Earn one year free of premium membership to our website if you participate in this blog series – ‘The Journey to School’.
All you need to do is take a few pictures of what you see or do on your way to school and then write a description of your journey. ISC members will appreciate you sharing what you know as it gives an excellent insight (for prospective teachers) into what it might be like to go to work at your school each day.
Email us here if you are interested.
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.
Currently, our top 40 international schools with the most members are (6 December 2020):
30 members – American International School in Egypt
28 members –International School of Kuala Lumpur
27 members – Copenhagen International School
25 members – International School Manila
24 members – MEF International School Istanbul
23 members – Western International School of Shanghai
21 members – Fairview International School
21 members – Brent International School Manila
21 members – Seoul Foreign School
21 members – American International School (Vietnam)
21 members – American School Foundation of Mexico City
20 members – International School Dhaka
20 members – International School of Tanganyika
19 members – Jakarta Intercultural School
19 members – Seoul International School
19 members – Graded School Sao Paulo
18 members – Shanghai United International School (Hongqiao)
18 members – Shanghai Community International School
18 members – American School of Barcelona
18 members – Aga Khan Academy Mombasa
17 members – Nazarbayev Intellectual School of Astana
17 members – Qatar Academy (Doha)
17 members – International School Panama
17 members – Pathways World School
17 members – International School of Phnom Penh (ISPP)
17 members – American International School of Johannesburg
17 members – International School Bangkok
17 members – Good Shepherd International School
17 members – Singapore American School
17 members – American International School Dhaka
16 members – United Nations International School (Vietnam)
16 members – Cairo American College
16 members – Suzhou Singapore International School
16 members – Western Academy of Beijing
16 members – NIST International School
16 members – Anglo-American School of Moscow
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/they 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!
As far as we know, International School Community is 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 16 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!continue reading