Highlighted Articles

Making Life Easier for International Schools During Recruiting Season

January 23, 2023


Recruiting the best possible international school staff is always a challenge.  Once you have top international educators, you really want to make sure you keep them!

In such a competitive market during international school recruitment season, it is important to stand out in a crowd. You also want to be seen and known to be the international school or group of international schools that look after its people. 

Employee benefits have been slow to come to the international school sector, but it is becoming a well-established tool that has already been used successfully by a number of international schools to attract and retain their staff.

It is important to look at how an occupational international retirement and savings plan can be a simple and effective method to provide a meaningful benefit to your staff; be they local, expatriate, short-term or career-focused.

Over the years there have been bad experiences in this growing sector with international teachers being sold inappropriate individual products that are too rigid in requirements, have expensive investment options and are opaque in their fees.  However, the desire to save is an important objective. It is vital that international educators make the most of working overseas from a career perspective, but also for financial benefit.

By providing an occupational plan, you can offer a simple and easy way to save as well as tailor it to your requirements.  So what does that mean?  The rules can be customised for international school management. The options allow you to: 

·   Decide who can join the plan

·   Provide an employer contribution but have different percentages for different categories of staff, to reward loyalty and seniority.

·   Provide a “signing on/contract completion” bonus.

·   Ensure employees finish their first contract or serve an amount of time before they receive the rights to any employer contribution/bonus value. 

·   Limit access to any employer contributions until they leave employment or retire, so they have a meaningful benefit when they leave.

·   Allow employees to make additional savings safely and easily via payroll at no extra cost.   This can be used for short to medium-term goals such as house purchase, marriage, education or hardship.

·   Allow local employees an easy and cheap way to save in international currency.

The good news is that the costs are simple and transparent and they can be paid by the international school, the employee or shared.

Easy to Administer

We know how busy international school boards and admin are.  Therefore Sovereign will use its expertise to learn what you want to achieve and build the plan to suit your requirements.  We’ll do all the heavy lifting, so you don’t have to.

·   We’ll deliver a co-branded employee booklet tailored to your membership

·   Deliver launch presentations to engage the population

·   Provide institutional class funds by Vanguard, Fidelity, iShares/Blackrock that are ESG focused where possible.

·   Provide a secure portal, so the members can self-serve thereby reducing traffic to HR

·   The good news is that HR only has to upload basic new joiner information.  Our system will automatically engage the employee.  HR will also need to upload a contribution file and send one lump sum payment at the frequency agreed.

·   Members and HR can view and export their information.

So as you can see: simple, effective and secure.  Check out the International Schools case study: International Solutions – The Sovereign Group

Why not act now and get the process started by contacting (Mrs) Jo Smeed on jsmeed@sovereigngroup.com

Jo Smeed has spent 25 years providing international retirement & savings schemes to employers of all sizes, locations and sectors and brings her expertise and experience to deliver the optimum solution.

The Sovereign Group is a global company with over 20 offices around the world. 

This is a sponsored article submitted to ISC via Sovereign Group.

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Highlighted Articles

ICT for Learner Autonomy at International Schools

January 8, 2023


Are you looking to increase learner autonomy in your English language classroom? Integrating technology, specifically ICT (Information and Communication Technology), may be the way to go.

Studies have shown that when students have access to ICT in the learning environment, they have more control over their own learning process. They are able to monitor their progress, identify their learning needs, and construct their own knowledge based on the information available. This can lead to a more positive approach toward learning and increased efficiency in the learning environment.

Here are a few more examples of using ICT to enhance learner autonomy:

  1. Online language learning platforms: There are many websites and apps, such as Duolingo, Babbel, and Rosetta Stone, that offer interactive language-learning activities, such as vocabulary drills, grammar exercises, and listening comprehension practice. These resources allow students to work at their own pace and track their progress.
  2. Virtual language exchange programs: Tandem, HelloTalk, and ConversationExchange are platforms that match students with native speakers of the language they are learning, allowing them to practice speaking and listening skills through live conversations. This can be a great way for students to take control of their own language learning and engage in authentic communication.
  3. Collaborative document editing: Tools like Google Docs allow students to work on writing projects together in real time, regardless of their physical location. This allows for peer editing and feedback, as well as the opportunity for students to take on different roles and responsibilities within the group.
  4. Podcasts and video lectures: Students can use their own devices to access recorded lectures or podcasts on a variety of language learning topics. YouTube and iTunes are both great sources for language learning podcasts and video lectures, such as The English We Speak and BBC Learning English. This gives students the freedom to review the material at their own pace and revisit specific sections as needed.

However, it’s important to note that many students may not be familiar with using ICT resources for language learning. That’s why it’s important for teachers to provide orienting activities, such as introductions to the ICT tools and instructional objectives, to guide students through the learning process and reduce anxiety.

It’s also crucial that the use of ICT is relevant to the students’ needs and interests. Both teachers and students must be willing to adopt new roles and use technology appropriately in order to truly benefit from technology-based learning activities.

In conclusion, incorporating ICT into your language learning curriculum can be a great way to increase learner autonomy. Just make sure to provide the necessary support and structure to ensure a smooth and effective learning experience.

This article was submitted by Ayoub Chaouch, a teacher with 6 years of experience in teaching English, history, and geography at primary and secondary education levels.

He is currently working at Shenzhen Chenghan Experimental School in Shenzhen, China as a Secondary Education High School Geography and History Teacher and Middle School English and Language Arts Teacher. He holds a Bachelor’s degree in Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages and is currently pursuing a Master’s degree in Educational Leadership and Management at Keele University.

His skills include lesson planning, facilitating engaging classroom discussions, helping students improve their language skills, and evaluating student progress through assessments. He is skilled at guiding and counseling students with academic problems or special academic interests. You can reach him at ayoub.chaouch@live.com

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Information for Members

“Schools with Comments” search feature update (45869+ comments on over 1209 schools)

December 18, 2022


Our school profile search feature is one reason that makes International School Community unique. The search feature allows our members to search for the international schools that best fit their specific criteria.

This fast and easy-to-use search feature also helps international school teachers find the school profile pages on our website that have some useful comments and information on them.  You can easily see how many comments have been submitted on each school profile page by looking to the right of each school listed on the Schools List page.

The “Schools with Comments” tick box feature is at the bottom of our school profile search box (see the above picture).  If you only want to see school profiles that have comments on them in your search results, tick this box!  Then on the search results page, you will only see the schools that have comments. Genius!

Example: First we selected East Asia in the Region drop-down menu.  Then we selected China in the Country drop-down menu.  Finally, we selected Shanghai in the City drop-down menu.  But instead of getting ALL the school profile pages for schools in Shanghai, we put a tick next to the ‘schools with comments’ part before we pressed the Search button.

Here are the results of this search:

As of 18 December 2022, 27 schools in Shanghai have had comments and information submitted on their school profile pages.

Log-on right now to our website and start your searches using our ‘schools with comments’ feature (which is available to all members).

Currently, we have 1209 schools that have had comments and information submitted on them. That’s over half of the 2258 schools that we have listed on our website!

It is also important to note that there are over 45869 individual comments and information that have been submitted on our website.  All of these comments mean more informed teachers in our international school community!  We encourage all international school community members to share what they know by submitting comments on the international schools they currently work at or have worked at in the past. Why not become a Mayor of a school for unlimited free premium membership? Become a Mayor today!

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Information for Members

ISC Helps You to Compare the Salaries at 810+ International Schools

December 11, 2022


A survey that we did a few years ago made it clear which information international school teachers want to find out about when recruiting, and that is Salary Details.

What if you are only considering working in Shanghai? Or maybe you are only interested in working in Germany and are flexible about the city in which you would live. It would be invaluable information if you could access details about the salaries of all the international schools in that area of the world. Once you are able to take a look at the different salary details of a number of international schools, it could help you make a better decision on whether to accept an offer or not or which school you should put most of your focus on.

Compare School Salaries page: A unique feature on International School Community

Currently, we have over 1592 individual comments about international school salaries that have been submitted on our website (December 2022).  The specific comments and information about salaries have been submitted on 814 different international schools (December 2022).

The topic related to salaries (that members have left comments on) is on the Benefits tab which can be found on each school profile page.  The comment topic is called “Average monthly salary after taxes and in what currency (explain taxation situation). How often do you get paid throughout the year?”  Members are encouraged to leave informative details on a typical teacher’s monthly take-home salary at that school.

When you first visit the School Salaries page (premium membership access is needed), you will find that all the international schools (that have comments about salaries on their profile pages) are listed in alphabetical order. You can browse through all the schools there. But if you want to just view the schools from a specific region, country, or city in the world, then make sure to use the filter button on the right.  The filter feature allows you to filter the schools listed here and narrow down the list. You can more quickly find the specific schools at which you are most interested in checking out.

For example, let’s say you are only interested in working at an international school in Central/Eastern Europe.  Just click on the Select Region tab and select Central/Eastern Europe. After that, press the green Search button, and Voilà…only the schools matching your criteria show (currently 66 comments from 35 different international schools).


To see the exact salary comments, just click on the school. Here are some examples:

You could say that international schools like to keep their exact salary details secret.  Rarely do you find specific information about take-home salary on their websites.  Even on other websites where international schools display their vacancies, specific salary details are sometimes hard to find.  In turn, our Compare School Salaries page is quite special, useful, and unique!

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Information for Members

Top 27 International Schools With the Most Comments on ISC

December 4, 2022


Now there are 1209+ international schools that have had comments/reviews submitted on them on our website (up almost 100 schools from one year ago)!

Once schools have over 70 submitted comments, then it is very likely that you will be able to see how a specific comment topic has changed (or not changed) over time; with all the comments being date stamped.

Western International School of Shanghai  (566 total comments)

If there is more than one comment in a specific comment topic, the more recent comments either add on, compliment or amend the previous comments.

Some of our schools that have many submitted comments will sometimes have over 15 comments in one comment topic!

Copenhagen International School (414 total comments)

Just click on the “Show all” link to see the complete history of comments in this comment topic.

So let’s get to it, which schools are in the top 27? This list comes from December 2022 with a sample comment for each school.

Here we go:

27. Green School Bali

(Sibang, Indonesia) – 168 Comments
“As time has gone by the new airport has gotten better and better. Lots of eating options, good duty-free, loads of places to sit. Departing is fairly straightforward. Check-in, customs (who don’t care about your liquids as long as they’re not large), immigration, th…”

26. Changchun American International School

(Changchun, China) – 168 Comments
“Apartments are furnished by landlords so it can vary – but generally pretty basic. School gave me a metro card and a SIM card and phone til I sorted out my own…”

25. International School Saigon Pearl

(Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam) – 169 Comments
“The airport can be very busy. The staff don’t always speak English and facilities are a bit limited for a major international airport to be honest. Best to get there early if you are departing…”

24. International School of Tanganyika

(Dar es Salaam, Tanzania) – 171 Comments
“The IT infrastructure has improved significantly but is still not without its challenges. Internet speed is reasonably fast, much much better than it used to be. All teachers are provided with a Macbook. At secondary, there are 4 computer labs. The science department has 25 m…”

23. Concordia International School (Shanghai)

(Shanghai, China) – 180 Comments
“The ‘common language spoken in the hallways’ depends on the grade level. Students who are only 3 or 4 might not have a lot of English. As the students get older, they are quite skilled in English…”

22. American School of Barcelona

(Barcelona, Spain) – 180 Comments
“The turnover rate is getting a bit higher because the cost of living in Spain is getting higher and higher and salaries are staying the same. Economically it is difficult in Spain right now. That being said Barcelona is a fantastic city to live in and no one wants to leave…”

21. The International School of Dakar

(Dakar, Senegal) – 181 Comments
“Very low turnover this year but we had a large turnover the previous year. Teachers tend to stay 3-4 years but some have stayed much longer…”

20. Canadian International School (Hong Kong)

(Hong Kong, China) – 185 Comments
“CDNIS is an IB World School, implementing PYP, MYP, and DP. In a recent report by the IB governing body, CDNIS must make major administrative and governing reforms in the next year…”

19. Lahore American School

(Lahore, Pakistan) – 193 Comments
“1/2 of the teachers are from North America and 1/2 from Pakistan, a few from UK…”

18. American School of Dubai

(Dubai, UAE) – 197 Comments
“Lately a number of teachers are heading to places like Georgia, Armenia and Azerbaijan. They report great experiences! Oman remains the number one travel option, however, as it is right next door (door to door to Muscat is around the five hour mark) and has lots of great outdoor…”

17. Shanghai American School (Pudong)

(Shanghai, China) – 198 Comments
“There’s a new teacher coordinator who has been a great point of contact for new hires. Induction otherwise is done by partner teachers and departments. China has a lot of stuff to figure out once you get here, and there’s not enough time to help everyone with everything…”

16. Cairo American College

(Cairo, Egypt) – 199 Comments
“The subway costs 2 Egyptian pounds per ride. Taxis vary since you might have to haggle. Many people at the school use a regular driver. The one I use charges less than 200 Egyptian pounds for a trip to the airport, which is about an hour away…”

15. Ghandi Memorial International School

(Jakarta, Indonesia) – 203 Comments
“Bahasa Indonesia is the official language, with English spoken in major cities and tourist areas…”

14. Tsinghua International School (Beijing)

(Beijing, China) – 209 Comments
“There is a new airport going in south of Beijing to relieve the traffic at the main airport…”

13. Khartoum International Community School

(Khartoum, Sudan) – 213 Comments
“Teachers stay because they feel appreciated, their voices are heard, and they get to make a difference. Teachers leave because it’s not…”

12. Oeiras International School

(Lisbon, Portugal) – 220 Comments
“Back in the re-accreditation mode again with the self-study this year. The visit will be a joint visit next year with IB, ECIS, and NEASC…”

11. Keystone Academy

(Beijing, China) – 227 Comments
“Very near school is Pinnacle plaza with Jenny Wang grocery. This is also good for eating out. Newer and busier is Shine hills. Everything is here including a good cinema. Just open behind the school is a new plaza with a cinema and Sam’s Club and a food street, Starbucks, etc…”

10. Seoul Foreign School

(Seoul, South Korea) – 231 Comments
“Tutoring through the school is available if it is not your student. The school takes a portion leaving you with about $20 for 30 minutes of tutoring. Coaching stipends from $350-900 and lifeguarding at the school pool can bring in 25-45 dollars an hour.”

9. Tarsus American College

(Mersin, Turkey) – 283 Comments
“Down to two weeks of holiday in January. No other breaks and we’ve been told that in addition to losing our fall and spring breaks for intensive staff development other PD will be held on weekends…”

8. American International School (Vietnam)

(Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam) – 303 Comments
“Now, it is extensive as it has not been done at all. Atlas Rubicon full steam ahead…”

7. Stamford American International School

(Singapore, Singapore) – 307 Comments
“The school is in the northeast corner of Singapore with very easy access to the city center. Staff can choose their own accommodation location based on their financial and lifestyle preferences. Most teachers live 2-3 MRT (underground) stations away. Public transport is excellent…”

Bangkok, Thailand

6. NIST International School 

(Bangkok, Thailand) – 311 Comments
“With the start of construction on the street the school is located on, the entire schedule has shifted to a later start. Elementary students begin at 8:00 and secondary students at 8:30. So far the response has been overwhelmingly positive…”

5. Singapore American School

(Singapore) – 327 Comments
“Transport options are good. The taxi queue right outside of arrivals can be long at times, but the system works well to get people moving as fast as possible…”

4. Good Shephard International School

(Ooty, India) – 410 Comments
“Presently they are having their Trinity College London Music Examinations. This is an option but they try to maintain high grades although most students only take Initial to Grade 1 due to restrictions of the admin to practice music…”

3. Copenhagen International School 

(Copenhagen, Denmark) – 414 Comments
“You can get travelers and accident insurance from your bank here, like at Nordea. It is really cheap and it gives you health insurance coverage anywhere in the world! It is important to know about this option because now the Danish CPR health social health care card doesn’t…”

2. KIS International School

(Bangkok, Thailand) – 440 Comments
“Using a mobile is now so cheap that many teachers do not have a landline. The Satellite TV provider is dreadful, neither their offerings nor their boxes have changed in 20 years. If you want to watch sport most teachers just go to the pub…”

1. Western International School of Shanghai 

(Shanghai, China) – 566 Comments
“Airport is okay. It’s clean and easy to navigate. Immigration can take a long time to get through at peak times during the year but it’s okay. They have water fountains, which as a frequent traveler I really appreciate…”

You can see the rest of the Top 40 school profile pages with the most comments here on our website.

Keep the schools that you work at now (or have worked at in the past) updated with new comments. Want to share what you know and get unlimited free premium access to our website? Become a Mayor today!

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