International School Community’s mission is to be the go-to website for international school teachers wanting to find everything to do with working at international schools around the world.
We need your help to make sure we are being the best we can be.
Please consider taking our survey. It should take around 10 minutes. All participants that submit a detailed, completed survey will be entered into a contest. Three people who have really detailed comments will win one free year of premium membership to our website!
We’ll contact the winners on 06 June, 2018 via email. Please write to us here if you have any questions or concerns.continue reading
A new survey has arrived!
Topic: Does your school have an official English-only policy on their campus?
Many veteran international school teachers have already figured out that there are a nice “handful” of these types of international schools throughout the world. Some teachers and administrators think this kind of English-only policy is a necessity for the success of their students; others teachers and administrators are quite against it…strongly against it. After teaching at an English-only policy international school, some teachers will choose never to teach in a school like that again because of their negative and painful experience trying to enforce it on their students.
There are many cons to having an English-only policy at an international school. It’s likely that it is giving the wrong impression of what being an “internationally-minded” person is all about.
International schools need to think very smartly about the makeup (language background) of their student body because of course that can affect what the “language of the playground” is. When the makeup is not balanced in a way that hinders the target language level/goal of the majority of the students (that the school wants them to achieve to), then of course many schools resort to a English-only policy to try to counteract that (for example at international schools with a majority of host country nationals)…and it would appear that not-well-thought-out solution fails almost every time. At least that is what was happening at a number of international schools nowadays.
Just because English is the target language of most international school classrooms, doesn’t mean that English is the superior or dominate language of the school; and teachers and administration should let their students and their parents know this in a clear, organized, and meaningful way. One suggestion on how to do this is to encourage an interlingual classroom. In an interlingual classroom, students are encouraged to use their home languages in the classroom. This suggestion will most likely not only be a new experience for you as the teacher, but also for your students…as they may not be used to being able to do this. In turn, some modeling and explicit examples on how to do this in a lesson would be necessary.
Another suggestion is to support multiliteracies in your classroom.
Share what your opinion is on this issue, as there are many perspectives and experiences at a variety of international schools that need to be shared with the rest of the community.
Also, go ahead and vote on Does your school have an official English-only policy on their campus? Go to the homepage of International School Community and submit your vote today! You can check out the latest voting results here.
We actually have a comment topic related this to this issue. It is called: Describe language abilities of students at this school and what is the “common language spoken in the hallways”? Is there one dominate culture group?
Right now there are over 560 individual comments (about 100s of different international schools) in this comment topic on our website. Here are a few of them:
“There is a 30% cap on Thai students in order to maintain an international population. The other largest groups as of 2014 are U.S. (14%), Indian (8%), Japanese (6%), Australian (6%) and British (5%). Approximately 50 nationalities are represented in total. Most of the students are fully fluent in English, and unless with a small group of friends who share similar backgrounds, they tend to use English.” – NIST International School (Bangkok, Thailand) – 29 Comments
“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 (Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia) – 27 Comments
“ASM is truly an international school. The school strives to maintain what is called the “magical mix”, meaning 1/3 is American, 1/3 is Spanish, and 1/3 is from all over the world. For this reason, the English level is extremely high. A mix of predominantly English and Spanish is spoken in non-structured environments around campus.” – American School Madrid (Madrid, Spain) – 27 Commentscontinue reading
A new survey has arrived!
Topic: Where are you traveling during the summer break?
It’s what every teacher is (un) patiently waiting for right now…the summer break! So many weeks, so many places to visit!
If you are lucky and are working somewhere that allows you a lot of money for traveling, then the sky’s the limit on where you could go.
Sometimes I find myself saying, “I could literally go wherever I’d like!” Which is a good feeling, knowing how life was back in my home country (when traveling around the world was basically non-existent).
BUT, there are many factors that come into play when you plan for your summer break.
Maybe you have to go visit your family at some point.
Maybe you need to go visit your friend that just moved to a new country (gotta visit your other international school teacher friends where they live!)
If you are married with children, that might dictate where you end of traveling to. Additionally, you might find that you just don’t have the extra funds to buy two more plane tickets (for your two kids) for that trip to Thailand. The travel money for that family with children is then saved for another time.
Maybe you have planned to work the whole summer at your school’s summer school programme. Extra money is good though, but no traveling means not much to look forward to in terms of exploring the world more.
I mean the truth is…you gotta come back to your international school in August with a great story to share (making others jealous and inspire them to plan their next trip). It’s true. The first thing people ask you on your first day back to school: How was your summer break? Where did you go?
So, you gotta have a good story to tell!
Please take a moment and share your comments and experiences about how you decide on where you travel to during the summer.
Also, go ahead and vote on Where are you traveling during the summer break? Go to the homepage of International School Community and submit your vote today! You can check out the latest voting results here.continue reading
A new survey has arrived!
Topic: What is the main way that you get to work at your current international school?
It is so important; your journey to work. It shouldn’t be one that is dreadful, and it shouldn’t be one that is long and difficult. You don’t want to be spending the majority of your day on a bus or waiting for a bus, for example.
Many times an international school teacher will have to forego the ‘luxury’ of having their own car to get to work (e.g. like many Americans). You need a car in the USA because many cities don’t have the best public transport to use, or it is just not so normalized to use public transport to get to work.
So if you don’t have a car while living abroad, how do you get to work? I would say that it can very from city to city and from country to country, and of course, it depends on where you are living in those cities.
In China, you might be living in the same building as a bunch of other teachers at your school. Many times the schools will hire a school coach to come and pick you up each morning at that building and then take you home after school (good reason to not stay so late at school! When the bus leaves, you leave!). It is nice to have your transport all arranged for you. If you are late (because of the bus), it is not your fault! On the other hand, you might have some things to complete that morning, so a late bus definitely not the best way to start the day. Another possible downside of using a school coach bus is that you will most likely have to travel with your coworkers every day; you might say that there are both pros and cons about that situation.
Maybe you live in Western Europe or Scandinavia and find yourself in a community of bikers. If you don’t live too far away from the school, a ride to work on your bike could be just the thing to get your brain/body going in the morning! Not so good though to ride your bike to work if you live in a place with cold/rainy weather or if you often carry a big bag to work.
If you are in some less-developed countries, you just might have a car as your mode of transport to work. Driving a car in those countries just might be the only way that you can get to work (as public transport is unreliable or non-existent). If you are lucky (or not, depending on your perspective), you might even be able to hire a driver! We all know that driving in other countries can be tricky and even dangerous in some places, so better have a local do the driving for you!
Sure there are pluses and minuses to the environment and to the community you are living in based on the way people (you) get to work. You will have to make the best choice for yourself when considering teaching jobs at a variety of international schools that are in different locations in the world. The question then boils down to what do you want as your preferred way to get to work every day.
Please take a moment and share your comments and experiences about the topic of getting work while working at an international school.
Also, go ahead and vote What is the main way that you get to work at your current international school? Go to the homepage of International School Community and submit your vote today! You can check out the latest voting results here.continue reading
A new survey has arrived!
Topic: What percentage of your staff is expat hired?
International schools are definitely not all the same. You might think that the international school you want to work at has mostly expat teachers, but that might not always be the case.
Many international schools hire locally. The locally-hired teachers can be both host-country nationals or expats that moved to that country before they got the job. These locally-hired people are sometimes the preferred hire to choose because if they might be a good fit that is also typically a cheaper option. Of course this can be frustrating for people outside of the country trying to get a job there (e.g. a person from the United States trying to get a work visa in Europe). Other teachers are hired locally because they are teachers of the host country’s language/curriculum; a post that many expats most likely wouldn’t be qualified to do anyway.
Then there is all the controversy at some schools related to how the expat-hired teachers are getting better benefits and salaries than the locally-hired ones; always a topic of contention! Not fair really, the locally-hired teachers (especially the expat ones) are definitely unhappy they are NOT getting the extra benefits their expat-hired counterparts are getting (like if they have the same degree and experience and they hold a similar posting at the school).
What is the perfect ratio of expats versus locally-hired expats versus host country teachers at an international school? Is their one? Does it even matter? Share your comments and experiences!continue reading