Around the world, there are cities that have more than one international school. Many times there is an American school, a British School, and an international school that uses an international curriculum.
Some cities, though, have MANY international schools! When that is the case, how do the comments about each school compare to each other?
This blog series looks at comparing some of these comments, all coming from international schools in the same city.
Currently, we have 17 schools listed in Kuala Lumpur on International School Community.
Schools with the most submitted comments:
Newlands International School (51 comments)
Garden International School (21 comments)
International School of Kuala Lumpur (99 comments)
Mont’Kiara International School (27 comments)
Sunway International School (15 comments)
Taylor’s College (16 comments)
Alice Smith School (8 comments)
High Expectations for Teachers?
“The school’s workload is average. We certainly hear of neighboring (similar caliber) schools who expect a lot more out of their teaching staff. In addition to a normal teaching day, teachers also are expected to lead 2 after school activities (running 10 weeks long each) per year. Coaching satisfies this requirement. This is standard for international schools in Malaysia, as the government requires schools to offer ASAs. Some teachers work until 3:30 (official end of day), and others are consistently there until 5 or later. However, this is a matter of choice and personal work ethic, most often not because of additional duties required by the school.” – Mont’Kiara International School
“I dont think the workload is particularly heavy although the school has high expectations. A 100% teaching load comes with two non contact hours per day, slightly less in lower grades. In ES some of these blocks are taken up by co-planning and team meetings. After school meetings are twice monthly, relatively low compared to other schools” – International School of Kuala Lumpur
“Teachers usually take on one extra-curricular.” – Taylor’s College
“Teachers are trusted but a great commitment is expected. One after school club/week/term.” – Newlands International School
Language Background of the Students
“The students are mainly from the expatriate community of Kuala Lumpur and come from over 50 different countries. Malaysian students are only allowed to attend international schools if they have obtained approval from the Malaysia’s Ministry of Education. The GIS roll currently comprises approximately 40% Malaysian students, the second largest nationality group is British.” – Garden International School
“The Principal reminds the pupils every day to speak in English but some lapse back into Chinese.” – Newlands International School
“Chinese dialects, Bahasa Malaysian, some international sts.” – Taylor’s College
“The school requires students entering after kinder have been previously educated in English. I would say about 75% of the students are fluent in English, and the rest are in the ELL program. Students almost all speak English, even if they have friends who speak their native languages. I am not sure of the exact number, but I would guess about half of the students are native English speakers.” – Mont’Kiara International School
“The school provides an accommodation allowance of RM2,500 per month for single teachers, RM2,700 per month for married teacher with no children whose spouse is not working, RM2,500 per month each for married teachers, both of whom are employed by the school and RM3,000 per month for married teachers with children whose spouse is not working in the school.” – Garden International School
“For married housing you get around 987 USD a month; For single housing you get around 846 USD a month; For each dependent child you get 109 USD extra a month. No utilities allowance is given.” – Mont’Kiara International School
“The housing allowance is paid with the salary and is taxable. After tax for a single it amounts to appx 750 USD, for a couple, or with dependents it is more, up to about 1300 USD. Depending on area and size, it is possible to find accommodation in this bracket, though many people treat it as salary and just rent the place they really want for a bit more.” – International School of Kuala Lumpur
“As of next year, teachers will be paid in Malaysian RM. This is actually a positive change and will raise salaries that have gone down with the weak dollar. Taxes are between 12 and 20%, and teachers also contribute about 10% to EPF (retirement plan).” – Mont’Kiara International School
“Pay is good, with a great retirement (EPF) program that can go up to 42% of salary (including both employer and employee amounts). Teachers are paid 10 times (August through June) but in June they also get their July salary.” – International School of Kuala Lumpur
“Salaries are automatically paid into each teacher’s bank account at the end of every month, (usually on the 28th day of the month).” – Garden International School
“Beaconhouse have a real problem getting work-permits so much so that none of the eight foreigners at Newlands have made year two of their contracts. Some have been told to get out on returning from a Visa run. None have been able to stay to year two which means they have to pay a large fine to BH for breaking contract.” – Newlands International School
(These are just 4 of the 65 different comments topics that on each school profile page on our website.)
If you work at an international school in Kuala Lumpur, share what you know. Consider becoming a Mayor for unlimited premium membership!continue reading
Every 1-2 months International School Community will highlight one of our members in our Member Spotlight feature. This month we interviewed Laurence Myers:
Tell us about your background. Where are you from?
I am originally from Athens, Greece with a father from the US and a mother from Greece. I was born and raised in Athens, Greece and attended a small international school (TASIS Hellenic International School, now International School of Athens). I have been teaching for 19 years internationally and have loved every minute of it!
How did you get started in the international teaching community?
For me teaching internationally was almost an extension of my life as a student. As I went to an international school as a child I found the cross-cultural connections at such schools to be right up my alley. Of course, as is often the case, my inspiration came from my teachers and professors, the most powerful of which was that of Kostas Gabriel who presently teaches in Chennai. He was an inspiration in believing in myself as a child and I found that, when deciding on a profession, this also provided me with an impetus to assist students in similar circumstances. I also had some good friends who showed me the way, most notably Ralph Barrett who presently teaches in Abu Dhabi. Following their footsteps, and my heart, I was able to fit right in when professional life came calling. After a couple years of teaching internationally I was hooked. The job offers the perfect combination of discovery and self-reliance with the added dimension of dealing with simply wonderful kids!
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.
I began my teaching at the same school I attended as a child, TASIS Hellenic International School. It was, and still is, a small school with much character and a small but very dynamic student population. It was here, as I took my professional baby steps, that I learned that students are often waiting for an opportunity to see the world in different ways. I taught both social studies and physical education at TASIS.
Following TASIS, and a short stint back in the US to receive my M.A., I taught for five years at Colegio Nueva Granada in Bogota, Colombia. For me this was an eye-opening experience. Like the Greek community, Colombians are open and really want to know about you as a teacher. I found this connection fascinating and discussions with my students in economics and government endlessly rewarding. The country of Colombia too, which had a shady reputation at the time, was a simply beautiful place to be! Despite the media and the difficult political situation the travel opportunities there were tremendous and I still find that, in so many ways, Colombia is home for me as well. I am also happy to be connected to Colombia through my wife, who has been by my side since those days at CNG. 🙂
My next stop, where I presently work, was the International School of Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. It was here that my professional self was able to succeed in ways that I never imagined possible. ISKL’s professional development opportunities and the support that they offer their teaching staff allows for many teachers to become great leaders in their own right. Though the expectations are high, so too is the sense of professional community. Collaborative, supportive and engaging ISKL has given me the opportunity to broaden my understanding of teaching and learning. It is in Malaysia that my two daughters were born and so our connection to Kuala Lumpur will be life-long.
Describe your latest cultural encounter (or reverse cultural encounter) in your current placement, one that put a smile on your face.
In Malaysia it is customary to point with the thumb and not the index finger. As our daughters are quite young trying to get them to remember to point this way is sometimes difficult. Traditionally we point, as most do in the west, with our index fingers. At one point when we went to a restaurant our daughter was pointing at something and we were overly concerned about what that might say about our cultural empathy. We tried very hard to get her to change her finger and were embarrassed to fail miserably. When we went over to the table and sat down to talk about it our daughter told us to look at the next customer, a Malaysian woman, who had just walked in. Sure enough, she was indicating things to the staff using her index finger. My daughter was vindicated and I quieted down recognizing that customs often change as cultures diffuse. Where we are often overcompensating in order to fit into the local culture, the members of that same local culture might be happy to use western gestures and norms.
What are some important things that you look for when you are searching for a new position at an international school?
As I have matured in my teaching, and as my family situation has changed (ie. single to married to having children) so too has my outlook on what is important in a job. When I was younger, of course, my impression of travel opportunities and cultural experiences was primary, as well as the reputation of the school. Now that I am older with a family I suspect that my next teaching post will be a bit closer to home and one where our children can also have a positive learning experience. It should be a school that allows me personal and professional challenge but also provides children with a well-rounded educational experience.
Specific thoughts on a new position (when that happens):
Is it in a safe location?
Does the school promote whole-child philosophy?
Does the school’s administration support teaching initiatives?
What is the “personality” of the school and does it fit in with our own?
Does the school support an environment of caring for people and for the environment?
In exactly 5 words, how would you describe the international school teaching experience?
Discovery. Rewarding. Engaging. Relationships. Awesome.
If you are a member of International School Community and would like to be our next member spotlight, contact us here. If we choose to highlight you, you will get a coupon code to receive 6 months free of premium access to our website!
Want to work for an international school in Malaysia like Laurence? Currently, we have 23 international schools listed in the Malaysia on International School Community. Here are a few that have had comments and information submitted on their profiles:
• Garden International School (19 Comments)
• International School of Kuala Lumpur (55 Comments)
• Nexus International School (18 Comments)
• International School of Penang (Uplands) (9 Comments)
• Dalat International School (6 Comments)
• Mont Kiara International School Kuala Lumpur (8 Comments)
Michael Pohl is Thinking Education … Are you?
With more than twenty years classroom teaching experience behind him, Michael now runs training and development sessions for classroom teachers in thinking skills and also in how to best meet the learning needs of gifted students in inclusive classrooms. He has run over 1800 workshops on the teaching of thinking for teachers and Principals in China, Taiwan Saudi Arabia, Spain, Vienna, Malaysia, Hong Kong, Singapore, and across both New Zealand and Australia.
A former member of the World Council for Gifted and Talented Children, Michael regularly presents at local, national and international conferences on issues concerning giftedness, creativity and thinking.
With a Masters Degree in Gifted Education and formal qualifications in Adult Training, Michael is the Director of Thinking Education, currently working with many schools in diverse contexts on an on-going basis, returning many times to work with teachers as as they create a culture of thinking in their classrooms. He has worked in complex secondary settings in inner metropolitan settings, to remote schools in outback Australia, with clusters of schools in Wellington NZ, to International schools across Asia and in Europe.
Amongst his recent publications are books on the teaching of complex thinking, models and strategies for teaching and learning, inquiry-based instruction, another on a whole-school approach to the explicit teaching of thinking skills, books for the middle years of schooling and for teachers concerning the education of gifted students and numerous articles for national and international journals concerned with Gifted Education.
All are available from the Thinking Education website.
Michael currently has an on-going relationship with The Alice Smith School in Kuala Lumpur and the International European School in Taiwan and is due to revisit both in 2012.
Should you be interested in having Michael work with your school, or present to a local or regional conference, please feel free to contact him via the website at http://www.thinking.education.com.au or simply email at email@example.com reading
Members of International School Community have written some new and informative comments and information on the following international schools:
New information or comment in the School section: “English is the primary language in the hallways. There are a number of EAL students, but are not the majority. The largest single cultural group is Korean (24%) but there is a cap of 25% per class year of any one particular cultural group, ensuring an international make up to the school community.”
New information or comment in the City section: “If you either speak or at least try to speak Spanish they will love you. It is a great city to learn the language and the people are very happy to speak to foreigners about their own countries, etc.”
New information or comment in the Benefits section: “This year the school has given another option for housing. It’s a place called Royal Garden and everyone seems quite impressed with it! I’m still happy though with my own choice in the city but its good to have another option.”continue reading
Are you inspired to start up a blog about your adventures living abroad?
Check out the experiences of another international school teacher from the moment they signed the contract to what they are writing about after a few years working abroad.
Our 6th blog that we would like to highlight is called “Follow That Elephant” This teaching couple seem to be quite experienced in the international school community, having worked at more than 3 international schools. The part of their blog that we would like highlight is about their experience living in Malaysia working at Mont Kiara International School Kuala Lumpur.
Entries we would like to highlight:
2 Months In…
“Everything continues to be absolutely wonderful: the food, the weather, the people, the shopping and the school. We’re having a great time!…Yesterday we went to the sikh wedding. One of the teachers at school married a Malaysian sikh, and they very generously invited everyone from MKIS! Since we were invited to this awesome wedding, we figured we would dress appropriately.”
How great to experience a wedding in the host country that you are living in!
Life Outside of KL
“Aside from the small, yet powerful cultural differences that have really come to the forefront this month, all continues to go well. We are still loving the weather, food, shopping, etc. It was especially nice to take a trip to the amazing east coast . According to my students Redang is the best island to visit. According to the teachers, it’s the most expensive. No matter what you say, we loved it!”
Looks like the next stage of culture shock has set in 2-3 months after the initial move, but that is when you also now know some of the great places to visit nearby as well….places you possibly didn’t even realize were there before you moved.
The World of International Schools
“When I tell people back home in the US that I’m teaching in Thailand, they usually assume I teach English to Thai children. When I try to explain by saying “no, I teach at an international school”, I’m often met with a blank stare.”
This type of conversation has happened to all of us! Check out this entry for another great overview of the international school teaching experience, from recruitment to the benefits to and from what type of people get into this community this overview is very informative!
*If you are an international school teacher and would like your blog highlighted on International School Community contact us here.continue reading