Comparing the Schools and Comments

Comparing the Schools and Comments: Working in Shanghai, China

February 28, 2015


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?

Our new blog series will look at comparing some of these comments, all coming from international schools in the same city.

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Shanghai, China

Currently, we have 25 schools listed in Shanghai on International School Community.

Schools with the most submitted comments:
Yew Chung International School (Shanghai) (Shanghai, China) – 50 Comments
Shanghai Community International School (Shanghai, China) – 33 Comments
Shanghai American School – Puxi (Shanghai, China) – 18 Comments
Concordia International School (Shanghai) (Shanghai, China) – 37 Comments
British International School Shanghai – Puxi (Shanghai, China) – 25 Comments
Western International School of Shanghai (Shanghai, China) – 146 Comments

Salaries
“You can expect to make 16000 RMB a month after taxes.” – Singapore International School (Shanghai)

“Base pay for teachers with 3 or more yrs of experience is between $32,000 and $39,000 (tax-free). Entry level is a little bit lower at $26,000-$32,000.” – Shanghai Community International School

“I would say that teachers NET is around 21000 – this must be dependent on teaching experience etc” – Shanghai United International School

“The full salary is paid in RMB. The school adds an extra 500 RMB towards utility bills. The yearly pay is divided into 12 months. For newcomers, their first pay is in September 20th, although school starts early August. This is clearly stated in the contract but those new teachers coming in need to be aware of this that they won’t see money until September.” – Western International School of Shanghai

Hiring Policy
“Teachers need to have at least two years of teaching experience in order to be considered.” – Concordia International School (Shanghai)

“WISS starts recruiting early but is very fair to its teachers. Those who “may” leave have their position advertised and only have to make a final decision when someone has been found as a replacement.” – Western International School of Shanghai

“They rely a lot on hiring people who are recommended by current employees. You still go through the interview process, etc. My initial contact to the school was through a connection I had to somebody already working here.” – Yew Chung International School (Shanghai)

“They attend Search Associates in January. They advertise in TES and through Teachanywhere.com. They interview in person or via Skype.” – British International School Shanghai – Pudong

Recent things the school has taken on
“A few years ago, the school decided it was important to do open houses (like other international schools in Shanghai) and that added a lot more work for the teachers. But hopefully they discontinued that this year.” – Yew Chung International School (Shanghai)

“The school is now implementing ‘high performance learning’ initiative which is being implemented across all the Nord Anglia Schools” – British International School Shanghai – Puxi

“There were many accomplishments from staff and students. It is amazing how many different areas were top notch: Sports, drama department, music program, Chinese language and much more.” – Shanghai Community International School

Housing
“Furnished 2-bedroom for single & married teachers, not sure about families. Furnished means basic furnishings including TV, sofa, dining table & chairs, beds & bedding, bath linens, kitchen appliances, & basic cooking utensils & dishes. After one year, staff can opt to take housing allowance instead of school housing. Most people are satisfied with housing overall, although sometimes it takes several “reminders” for repairs or service requests in school apts. Utility costs vary but are fairly cheap. My average for electricity, gas, & water is 100-200 RMB per month. Internet is 1,400 RMB per year. Mobile phone depends on plan/amount of data.” – Yew Chung International School (Shanghai)

“Housing is provided by WISS for the 1st year. Teachers can decide for themselves for subsequent years whether they want to stay in the provided accommodation or find their own place.” – Western International School of Shanghai

“Hosing allowance provided but most staff pay a bit more out of their own pocket to live in more desirable areas Staff can chose to stay in school housing” – British International School Shanghai – Puxi

(These are just 4 of the 65 different comments topics that on each school profile page on our website.)

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If you work at an international school in Shanghai, share what you know. Consider becoming a Mayor for unlimited premium membership!

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Blogs of International Teachers

Blogs of international school teachers: SirSolo

February 13, 2012


Are you inspired to start up a blog about your adventures living abroad?

Our 15th blog that we would like to highlight is called “SirSolo.”  Check out the blog entries of this international school teacher who has worked at British International School Shanghai.

A few entries that we would like to highlight:

New Year, new role…building the team

“Following our wonderful Christmas break in India, it was great to get back and see our colleagues at BISS; and especially the Humanities team, who I am excited to now be leading.  Although, I cannot believe how cold Shanghai has become!

Our first day back was a training day and was well structured and enjoyable; following a warm welcome back from Sir Terry, the secondary and primary staff split to follow separate training schedules. Our day (secondary) was focused on Formative Assessment and was extremely interactive and practical.”

International schools are sometimes in a pickle trying to organize good, useful, purposeful, effective, etc. professional development on the few days back after winter break.  I have worked at international schools when they have had somebody booked months in advance (for the after winter break PD days) and then to find out kind of last minute that the person couldn’t come any more.  Not just every trainer wants to (or is able to) lead their PD sessions in exotic locations around the world I imagine, but the ones that do…are indeed in very high demand (e.g. Virginia Rojas, Ron Ritchhart, etc.)!

Cutting Ties…

“I was recently contacted by my previous employer, an International School in Vietnam, who politely asked me to close down the Edmodo groups I had set up whilst at the school. In particular they wanted me to close a group I had set up named ‘Social Connections’ that was created to allow students (and staff) to remain in touch after moving on…as so often happens on the international circuit. They stated that new school policy dictated that any contact with students must cease when you leave.

The group set up meant that teachers didn’t have those awkward moments when saying goodbye to tearful students whereby they would normally be forced to say: “sorry no, you can’t be my Facebook friend or have my email”. Instead they’d simply say, “Keep in touch, see you on Edmodo!” The communications we exchanged about their reasons for me closing the group were all valid and I fully agreed but it did get me thinking about some interesting questions and ethical dilemmas teachers could find themselves in…”

Each international school is different and has their own rules about how they would like their school to be run.  It is important we share their differences with each other, thanks SirSolo!

Check out the British International School Shanghai profile page on International School Community.  Currently, there are 17 international schools listed in Shanghai on our website, with all 7 of them being schools that teach the U.K. curriculum.

If you are an international school teacher and would like your blog highlighted on International School Community contact us here.

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Recently Updated School Profiles

School profile highlights #10: Int’l School of Kuala Lumpur, Shanghai Rego Int’l School and Colegio Nueva Granada

November 17, 2011


Members of International School Community have written some new and informative comments and information on the following international schools:

International School of Kuala Lumpur (2 new comments) in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

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.”
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Colegio Nueva Granada (2 new comments) in Bogota, Colombia

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.”

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Shanghai Rego International School (6 new comments) in Shanghai, China

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.”

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Member Spotlights

Member spotlight #5: Katie Jervis

July 6, 2011


Each month International School Community will highlight one of our members.  This month we interviewed Katie Jervis:

Tell us about your background.  Where are you from?
I was born and raised in a city just outside of Toronto, Canada, but I haven’t lived there since 2005.

How did you get started in the international teaching community?
I first left Canada in 2005 to teach English in South Korea. Originally, I was only going to go for a year in an attempt to save enough money to pay for teachers college in the UK and get relevant teaching experience.  Then one year turned into two because I was really enjoying life there and started to recognise all the benefits of living abroad (eg. travel, new cultures, new friends, free accommodation etc.).  After the two years, I went to the UK to get my teaching degree as I had originally planned.  Living in the western world again was a bit of a shock and made me appreciate my experience in Korea even more.  It was then that I decided to look for jobs at international schools in Asia…life just seemed to be more exciting and a bit easier abroad.  After sending out applications to random schools, and going to a job fair, my boyfriend and I finally got offered jobs at the same school in Shanghai. We accepted and have been here ever since.

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.
The only international school that I have worked at is Shanghai Rego International School. It is unique in that it is quite small but really has a nice mix of nationalities amongst the students. The children are really lovely there and are generally very easy to teach.

Describe your latest cultural encounter in your current placement, one that put a smile on your face.
At our school, all the teaching assistants are Chinese, so I usually learn something new about the Chinese culture every day.  There are lots of teaching assistants that always get really dolled up for work and dress to the nines every day (short skirts, high heels, hair done, lots of makeup, etc). Recently, I was very surprised to see one particularly glam T.A. come in wearing clothes that looked like pyjamas, a radiation-proof apron (supposedly), thick glasses, greasy hair, etc).  It turns out that she had just found out that she was pregnant and the Chinese have very strong ideas on what women can and cannot do when they are pregnant, so I learned some pretty unique rules and traditions.  For example, you can only look at beautiful things when you are pregnant if you want to have a beautiful baby. Although these traditions sound strange, they are very interesting to learn about!

What are some important things that you look for when you are searching for a new position at an international school?
When I’m searching for a new school, I look for several things. I like busy and bustling cities, so that is a must.  I also look at the salary and if that can provide us with the lifestyle we’re looking for. Health and dental care is also crucial and accommodation or living allowance is key.

In exactly 5 words, how would you describe the international school teaching experience?
Exciting, interesting, enlightening, educational and unique.

Thanks Katie!  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!

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Great Link

Top 5 Reasons I like walking or taking public transport to get to places around a city instead of driving

May 14, 2011


Best and Worst Cities around the World for Public Transit

I found this article here on the Time magazine website.  The article actually turned out to be about cities in the United States.  You can look at the best cities for public transit here and the worst cities for public transit here.  The best city was Honolulu, HI; which I’ve never been to myself (though I really WANT to go there soon).  The worst city was Knoxville, TN; also another city that I haven’t visited yet (not on the top of my list of places to visit, but I’m always game for exploring more of the United States).

Now on to the rest of the world.  I’ve lived in 2 cities now on 2 different continents, and I must say that I completely rely on public transport nowadays in my life….and that doesn’t bother me one bit.  Barcelona vs. Shanghai.  One city beats out the other one though for more reliable and cheaper transportation.  You guessed it, Shanghai is the winner.  Though there is a lot of pushing in both cities, I’ve been impressed with Shanghai’s public transit.  Usually I only wait 1-2 minutes for the next metro train!

I’ve been without a car of my own for 5 years now.  I remember when I was living in the United States and a work friend of mine decided to go car-free.  I remember him saying to me, “I LOVE not having a car…”  And I remember me thinking, this guy is CRAZY!  We all know that most of the United States is lacking with public transportation.  Where I am from, you literally need a car or your are not going to be able to get anywhere.

Now I think just like my old work friend.  I don’t think I ever want a car again.  Disregarding the fact that you can save so much money by not having a car, I think I have actually lost interest in driving in general.

Top 5 Reasons I like walking or taking public transport to get to places around a city instead of driving:

1. Getting the chance to go into narrow alleyways where cars can go.

2. Looking over the shoulders of the people in front of you.  Boy did she have excellent handwriting.

3. Some walking paths can be very beautiful.  If you are in a car, you pass it by too fast.  If you are walking, you get to take it all in!



4. People watching in general.  Where is everyone going?  Where is this man going?  Who is he? Who is she?  In a car, you don’t have time to look at anyone.



5. Walking to the market that doesn’t have a car park or that is in the middle of a big city that cars can’t get to.  I love walking/taking a bus to my neighborhood market!



*Though I do miss one thing: listening to my favourite songs in my car and being able to sing very loud to them!

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