The Journey to School

The Journey to School: Ruamrudee International School Bangkok

January 31, 2016

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.  So let’s share what we know!

One of our members, who works at the Ruamrudee International School Bangkok (Bangkok, Thailand), described her way to work there as follows:


When you think of Bangkok you automatically think of bustling and busy streets which are lined with vendors with their food carts hawking their wares.  Well, when I travelled to Thailand as a tourist, that was the image that I had of living here.  So in January 2015 when I signed a contract to move to Bangkok from Dubai I thought I knew what I was moving into to.  How wrong could I have been….

Ruamrudee International School is not in downtown Bangkok, it is out towards the airport in an area known as Minburi.  A taxi to the airport might take about 20 minutes if the traffic is in your favour – a godsend when you are doing boarding pick ups the weekend before school starts and you have to go back and forth as the flights never seem to align where you can pick up more than one airline’s arrival…On the other hand, to get downtown in a taxi could take up to two hours.  The main road through Minburi is Ramkhamhaeng and it is a really busy road.  A couple of Friday nights ago it took us 70 minutes to travel about 6km – the traffic was insane – on the way back the same trip took 10 minutes.  But traffic flows eventually – there is no beeping like in Ho Chi Min or Beijing and the drivers are nowhere near as crazy as what we encountered in Dubai… these drivers just take it in their stride and no one gets upset – everyone lets everyone else merge without any problems…

Some teachers chose to live downtown, they have regular drivers who pick them up and drop them off each day.  They have to leave as soon as they are able as any delay could mean hours added to their drive home time. 

I chose to live in the community near the school – Perfect Place 2.  Perfect Place is a large secure community with wide leafy streets.  Within the community there are plenty of parks and lakes to walk around and most parks have exercise equipment available to use.  I have seen groups doing some kind of tai chi style exercise at sunset by the lake and it looks so peaceful and calming to the spirit.

imageLots of teachers use scooters to get around although some, like me, have hired electric golf carts – they can be driven around the community, as long as you don’t go out onto Ramkhamhaeng Road, they are perfectly acceptable. Plus, there isn’t that much road traffic in the community.  Once you get into the Pak Soi (where all the shops, restaurants and food carts are), traffic starts to build up as it waits to get onto Ramkhamhaeng Road.

I work in Boarding so I do crazy hours – no day is the same as the one before.  I work weekends and have other days off to compensate.  I might go in at noon but either not come home til noon the next day or if someone else is covering the overnight, I might leave at 10.30pm.  The journey is still the same regardless what time it is.  Traffic in the community isn’t an issue so I know I can leave any time and it will only take 7 minutes to get to school.

So, when I leave my house, I find myself in a quiet street (except for the dogs… not soi dogs – they all have homes, but they all bark).

A couple of turns and I say goodbye to the guards at the entrance to Perfect Place 2 – they click their heels and salute every entry and departure.

A left turn onto Ramkhamhaeng Soi 174 and I’m off….

The wide streets are incredibly clean – maybe something to do with the fact that every 500m there is a cleaner assigned to keeping her part of the street clean.


We have a lady who walks up and down our streets in PP2 and sweeps up all the leaves and dirt off the street.

Through another security gate (it only takes about 3 mins to get to this point) and you are at the Clubhouse, overlooking the lake, it is a private gym and infinity pool but the space also houses a restaurant, coffee shop, hair salon (150 baht to wash and blow dry your hair) and the local 7-11 (they are everywhere….).


Round the corner and its a lovely drive along the lake.


Some days the fountain is working and it is really pretty.  There is another smaller lake on the opposite side of the road when you get to the end


and at that point it’s a left turn into the road that finally takes you to the school’s entrance,


albeit the one at the rear of the school, but that’s where the staff parking is located.


The car park is full of bikes and scooters but very few cars.  Who needs a car when you can fit 5 on a bike… I wish I had a photo to share but it does happen all the time – 3 and 4 people on a scooter is a very common sight.

So, you’re now at school, ready to engage with whatever new challenges come your way.


This Journey to School article was submitted to us by guest author and International School Community member.

What to know more about the many international schools in Bangkok?  Check out our blog article called – Comparing the Schools and Comments: Working in Bangkok, Thailand.

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’.  Email us here if you are interested.

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The Journey to School

The Journey to School: NIST International School (Bangkok, Thailand)

February 9, 2015

The journey to work is indeed an important one.  The journey though is not so clear for international school teachers, when looking for jobs at schools in cities/countries to which they have never been.  So let’s share what we know!


One of our members, who works at the NIST International School (Bangkok, Thailand) described her way to work as follows:

DSC_9540In February, it isn’t so hot in the morning. Still though, you might still be wearing shorts as you walk to work.

Not many people are out on the street that the school is on just yet, but there are some people getting things prepared for the day. There are a number of hotels nearby so there are taxis and their drivers waiting next to their cars. If the taxi isn’t moving around though, this typically means that the taxi guy is off-duty.  Off-duty can only take you somewhere without the meter on, meaning you will have to bargain the price.

There are motor scooter darting through the narrow street as well, so make sure you look both ways before crossing the street to the other side.

Actually, you should always watch what is going around you wheel walking on this street because the pavement can be uneven. There can also be some mysterious smells and puddles on the ground that you would do best to avoid.


There are some secret entrances that you can get a glimpse at if you walk a bit slower and take a peek. Who knows what really inside those areas though. These areas, guarded only by light metal doors, don’t looks like much as you can see what looks like a bunch of nothing and garbage all over the ground.

You can see many of the locals preparing their food carts. Actually, a number of NIST students go to these stands to get their lunch for the day. Great business opportunity for the locals.


And I think they are quite happy for the business from the NIST staff and students because you can see many smiles on locals’ faces, even in such early hours of the morning.  I guess the smells of good Thai food is better than the random smell of the rotten garbage just down the street before the food cart area.


There are many beautiful colors in the Thai design to look at as well. Even the gates to some of the apartment buildings are quite nice to look at and appreciated.

As you get closer and closer to NIST, you can see that many of the locally hired people are all busy, getting ready for the rush of students that are to come. There are many locally hired folks that work at NIST to help each day run smoothly!

The entrance to NIST is a long walkway, ending in a beautifully designed mosaic. The NIST campus is one to be proud off. It is quite welcoming and you can feel the excitement from the staff and kids, all wanting to have a great day!

DSC_9560    DSC_9558

Currently, we have 49 international schools listed in Bangkok on our website.  22 of them have had comments submitted on them by our members. Check out which ones here by using our school search feature and ticking the box ‘schools with comments’.  NIST International School is a popular school profile page on our website.  It has 65 total comments on it.  It also has 3 members that either currently work there or have worked there in the past.


So what is your journey to the international school you work at?  Earn 6 free months of premium membership to our website if you participate in this blog series – ‘The Journey to School’.  Email us here if you are interested.

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Highlighted Articles

The Freedom of Teaching Overseas

September 18, 2014

What is the best thing about working in the private school sector? For me, it is not having to religiously follow the British curriculum and listen to people with no teaching experience telling me how to run my classroom. Could you imagine walking into surgery and telling the doctor how he could improve on his technique for his latest myocardial infarction patient? It is a ridiculous notion and while a little exaggerated not a million miles away from what teachers in the UK have to deal with everyday.

10628286_367977496688569_8380660437721617922_nI am all for self-improvement and I absolutely welcome criticism from other teachers. I actively seek advice from my peers and despite being apparently classed as an “outstanding” teacher by my previous Head, I don’t consider myself any more than satisfactory.  I doubt myself every single day and look for ways to improve after every lesson. But, if you have not set foot in a classroom before, then please, please, don’t tell me how to do my job.

I have worked in international schools for most of my career and I could not see myself ever returning to the UK to work in a government school. The job isn’t the only reason why I chose to live overseas. I love travelling and seeing new things, however it is the politics of working in UK schools that keeps me from returning. The children that I teach here are from good backgrounds and more often than not have supportive parents. The children at home in the UK often need good quality teachers so much more, but unfortunately the people in charge are driving the best teachers away. More and more people are not just leaving the country to teach elsewhere, but are leaving the teaching profession altogether.

I am lucky enough to be in the private sector overseas and I have always fostered ideas and teaching philosophies that break the norms of how we are taught to teach. I am somewhat of a rebel in this sense, often going against suggested practices for teaching. I like to be provocative and critical of traditional ways. I certainly wouldn’t get on well with the politics involved with teaching in the UK and while I had the respect and trust of my Head teacher in my last school; who allowed me to bend the rules to some extent, I have always wanted to be my own boss and set up a school in my own vision.  I have, for a long time, thought that I could structure a curriculum in a better, more practical way, giving time back to teachers to simply do the job they love doing for the reasons they initially decided to join the profession.

10600472_348618381957814_5372830562639779291_n-1Although Private schools on the whole do offer teaching staff more freedom to teach in the way that they like, slightly removed from the policy makers, they do come with their own pitfalls. I work in Thailand where most of the schools are owned by rich business people rather than educators. Profit making is put above the needs of students and children with special needs don’t exist in the mainstream schools. It is an environment built around a “bums on seats” philosophy. Working abroad can also leave you stuck with Head teachers and other teachers that have become far too accustomed to the easy life and don’t work half as hard as they should. It can become frustrating. Expectations abroad are often not as high as they are in the UK, but at the same time we, as teachers, have a duty to do the best job that we can, helping as many children in our care to achieve their absolute potential in both their academic and social lives. This is obviously not the case in all schools and there are some wonderful teachers around.

Luckily I have a close colleague who is very like-minded. Our teaching philosophies are almost identical and he is a fantastic teacher. I have never seen anyone teach phonics as well as him, even to this day and that is why almost four years ago, I felt confident enough to partner with him to start our own school.  It is a wonderful feeling to be able to follow whatever curriculum we want, to be able to buy whatever resources we want, when we want and to be able to educate young children in the way that we feel is the best way. Our school is only an Early Years institution and we did start on a pretty tight budget, borrowing from our families and scraping together our savings, however being built on the back of our modern and progressive philosophies, it has now blossomed into a school of the very best quality.

10636006_367182820101370_6025925256768325989_n-1Taking children from as young as twelve months in the Nursery and up to six years in Kindergarten 3 (Year 1), by the time children leave our school, they are all able to read and write both in Thai and English and in fact most of the children typically work one year above the national literacy and maths levels set by the UK national curriculum. My highest ability child has just turned five years and has already achieved a 3C in English.

So how did we achieve this? Through pushing the children to their limits? Breaking their personality through gruelling work routines? Surprisingly neither of these methods were used. The key to our success lies in teaching children to love education. We don’t punish children by getting them to read books or practice handwriting, but rather we teach children to love books and reading is a reward for finishing other activities quickly. We learn through playing “party” style games, whereby the children think they are playing when actually they are learning to read and write. As a result of this technique even our lowest ability children finish Reception two terms ahead of the average child in the UK.

Our school is also fully organic; the food as well as the cleaning products. The children will soon be growing their own dinners (part of their dinners) with the aim of encouraging children that do not like certain vegetables. We teach the children about different types of foods; the nutrients; the minerals and the vitamins that are contained within them. They get to juice fruits and vegetables and design their own juice mixes. When asked their favourite foods, the children mostly chose pumpkin or broccoli rather than chocolate and sweets. We also teach the children where their waste ends up and the benefits of recycling. They learn about renewable energy sources. In fact anything that we believe to be of great importance to the children in terms of ethical and healthy living, we educate them about. And we make it fun. This is the key, if you make learning fun enough then children will learn, but it is the fun that has been withdrawn from the curriculum in the UK. Okay some lessons are fun but when teachers have to stay up to 10pm every night marking, how can they be expected to make every lesson a fun interactive one. The emphasis needs to be taken away from the teaching and put firmly onto the learning.

We have recently set up a blog to try to educate others on our methods. I wouldn’t say that our ideas are “ground breaking” but they are a step away from the norm. I am sure there are many teachers and parents that think in the same way, but the problem is that politicians back home like to jump on the latest buzz word or trend, playing it safe to secure the vote at the next election, rather than actually thinking about how to improve education.

I am so happy being able to teach the way I want to teach, knowing that the only people that I am now TRULY answerable to are the only people I would feel remorse in letting down… The children.

This article was written by guest author and International School Community member David Walters. He works at British Early Years Centre in Bangkok (the school’s website can be found here) and also has a very informative blog for both parents and teachers.

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The Journey to School

The Journey to School: Rasami (Thai-British) International School in Bangkok, Thailand

June 18, 2014

The journey to work is indeed an important one.  The journey though is not so clear for international school teachers, when looking for jobs at schools and cities/countries to which they have never been.  So let’s share what we know!

One of our members, who works at the Rasami (Thai-British) International School, in Bangkok, Thailand, described his way to work as follows:

I open my front door to the sound of a disparate chorus of tropical birds and the waning night time sounds of cicadas and bullfrogs. Bangkok is one of the hottest and busiest metropolises on the planet and by 7am it is already nearly 30 degrees Celsius and my shirt is sticking to my back before I have walked downstairs, past the spirit house that is a feature of almost every building in Thailand, with its strong sweet scent of burning incense sticks and onto the soi (narrow side street) below. The traffic congestion on the soi is considerable, though it never reaches the proportions of the average Bangkok street as one end leads into an army base through which only authorised vehicles may pass. Fortunately working at RBIS entitles me to one of these passes for the princely sum of 200 Baht (about GBP4) per year. I don’t drive the 300 metres to school though! If the morning is cool enough I elect to walk, but on particularly sultry mornings I take a motor-cycle taxi which costs 10 Baht. The journey may be short but it is not uneventful.

The morning aroma emanating from the Bougainvillea and Frangipani is a delightful treat for the nostrils and its heady perfume more than compensates for the less appealing stench of the Bangkok sewage system which competes for nasal attention. The vivid colours of the flowers against the almost ubiquitous azure blue sky, relax my eyes and help to mentally prepare me for the impending day’s teaching. There is no pavement (sidewalk) on the soi, so one can never entirely drift off as the need to avoid military vehicles, taxis and scurrying motorcycles as well as the cars of our parents hurrying to drop their offspring at school before going on the lucrative employment that enables them to send their children to an international school.

When I arrive at the school, I greet the School Director – a former army officer, who is always present to greet staff and children – with a wai, a prayer like gesture which he cheerfully returns, before entering the compact campus and commencing the days teaching.


Currently, we have 38 international schools listed in Bangkok on our website.  19 of them have had comments submitted on them by our members. Check out which ones here by using our school search feature.


So what is your journey to the international school you work at?  Earn 6 free months of premium membership to our website if you participate in this blog series – ‘The Journey to School’.  Email us here if you are interested.

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Video Highlight

Video Highlight: KIS International School (Bangkok, Thailand)

June 17, 2012

There are so many international schools in Bangkok.  Which ones are good places for international school teachers to work at?  How does the international teaching community view the international schools there?

KIS International School (Bangkok)

The school building looks quite big.  Also, there is a large outdoor swimming pool and a climbing wall.

The outdoor playgrounds appear to have tarps installed on the trees to aid in shading the heat from the sun.

Looks like the students enjoy playing soccer as most students at international schools do during their play time.

The school has the students wearing uniforms appropriate to the tropical climate of the country.

Every shot of a classroom makes it seem as if there is much learning space allotted for the students. It is nice to have a lot of space for students to explore and not be so distracted by others in the room.

The indoor shot of the atrium looks impressive and definitely creates a welcoming feeling as you walk along the hallways of the school.

I noticed a shot of an exercise room on campus.  I still haven’t had the chance to work at an international school that had one of these.  Would be nice to have access to a gym on campus!

Wow their special celebration days look to be quite the spectacular!  There is a great open space outside on the field to hold these types of big events.

There have been 39 comments and information submitted on this international school on our website.  Want to know more about what life is like as a teacher at this international school?  Take a look a their profile page on our website – KIS International School (Bangkok) (39 Comments)

Additionally, you can check out the school’s website here and their employment page here.

Currently on we have 24 international schools listed in the city of Bangkok.  The number of comments and information that have been submitted for each school is listed to the right the link to each school.  Here are a just a few of them:

Bangkok Patana School (14 Comments)
Harrow International School (Bangkok) (10 Comments)
International School Bangkok (16 Comments)
St. Stephen’s International School (Bangkok) (8 Comments)
Hampton International School (13 Comments)
Thai-Chinese Int’l School Bangkok (7 Comments)
Berkeley International School (Bangkok) (8 Comments)

If you know about what it is like working at one of these international schools in Bangkok, log-on today and submit your own comments and information.  If you submit more than 30 comments and information, then you can get 1 year of premium access to International School Community for free!

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