Highlighted Articles

The Impossible “Trinity” When Teaching Abroad

March 21, 2018

It was more than ten years into my international teaching career when a colleague said to me, ’You never get all three – the school, the location and the package’.

Teaching Abroad

That was nearly two years ago, but I have returned to that idea many times since. In fact, I wonder if doesn’t explain many an international school career, my own included: are some of us looking for something which, in the end, we can’t really have?

My first international school provided a first class professional experience. Coming from an unremarkable UK comprehensive school, suddenly I had not one, but two, well-appointed classrooms for my own individual use as we taught different Secondary sections on different floors. Suddenly, no class had more than twenty students. At first, I used to sometimes catch myself wondering where ‘the others’ were. Suddenly, every student had their own personal textbook (…this was the ‘90s!). No more sharing and photocopying. The students were polite, pleasant, keen to learn – everything, in fact, that I had sometimes wished for during that last period on a Friday back in the UK.

Teaching Abroad

As if this wasn’t enough, my take-home pay doubled. Was this too good to be true? A fantasy? Would I wake up with a jolt and find it was all a dream? Well, if I did wake up with a jolt in my first few weeks it was because of the unfamiliar sound of the call to prayer echoing across a walled compound. Yes, I was in Saudi Arabia.

Like anywhere, the Kingdom has its fans and its detractors. While my classroom experience was excellent, and rekindled my enthusiasm for teaching, working in Saudi Arabia, for me, was not the problem. Rather, not working was, in that I found life outside work, while initially interesting, not for me. To go back to the idea of the ‘the school, the package and the location’, I had two out of three and, after completing my two-year contract, moved on.

Teaching Abroad

Looking for something completely different, I resolved to forget about earning and saving for a few years and just to go somewhere ‘for the experience’, adjusting my priorities. Therefore I was staggered when, in Latin America, I found myself saving nearly as much money as in Saudi and experiencing an, at times, overwhelmingly different culture, one I’m not sure I made the most of in part perhaps because of the two years that had come before. After the Kingdom, all that reckless hedonism may well have been wasted on me. Three years on, I made another move. Yes, you guessed it: once again I felt I had two out of three and made another move, adjusting my priorities once again.

It would be neat and predictable if I got two out of three again but, unfortunately for me, the next time it was only one. One more move followed, and it was two out of three again. Perhaps subconsciously influenced by the idea of ‘The Impossible Trinity’, I am into my fifth year at my current school, the one where I have been happiest. Whether the school is that much different from those that came before or whether I am, I reckon I have a creditable 2.5 right now. Is that as good as it gets? Maybe. Is there anyone who has found their perfect fit, with their school, country and remuneration all ticking the box? You tell me, I’d love to know!

Teaching Abroad

This article was submit by an ISC member. If you are interested in submitting an article as a guest author on our blog, contact us here. Once your article is submitted, you will receive one free year of premium membership to our website.

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Comment Topic Highlight

Has Your International School Met Your Expectations Once You Started Working There?

January 31, 2018

Taking a job at an international school that you have never visited is just a part of the game in our community. So, many of us try our best to gather all of the information we can before and after signing the contract. One main way of gathering this information is from the administration that interviewed you. Certainly, they do their best to inform you about the aspects of the school that you are interested in knowing about. Ask the administration lots of clarifying questions as well to make sure you are hearing them correctly; so that you can have the best understanding of your future workplace.

Once you start gathering all of this knowledge, you instinctually start to create some expectations. Whether your expectations are realistic or not-so-realistic, they are now there in your brain for the whole rest of the school year at your current school and through into the summer.


Now that the expectations are there, of course many of them will be exactly what you thought. The possible issue that may arise though is once you get to your new school in July/August. Will all of your expectations indeed come true or will they be slightly different or even non-existent?  There is a real risk that some of your expectation will not come true.


Even if some of your expectations don’t come true straightaway, it doesn’t mean that they won’t after a half or a whole school year passes.  Stay positive!  If a few expectations are bringing you down, some good advice might be to focus on the expectations that did come true, especially those ones that inspire you as an educator.

Not having all your expectations come true is just another part of the international school teacher experience. Knowing how to handle those moments is the key. The admin hired you from a reason, and they thought you were good fit for the position and their school. Don’t let some high, unreal expectations that you may have derail you. Make sure you stay open-minded and be willing to be flexible. And definitely don’t forget to realize and enjoy all of your expectations that were met once you started working at your new school!


Luckily, International School Community has a comment topic on our school profile pages related to this topic of has your international school met your expectations once you started working there. There are a total of 202 comments (January 2018) that have been submitted by our veteran international school teachers in one of 65 comment topics called – “Has the school met your expectations once you started working there?”

Here are a few of those submitted comments:

“At first, I was not impressed with the high rate of misbehaved students (because the school advertises that there are “no behavior issues” in the school. However, once the school year got underway, I have watched how teachers have reflected on their management routines and changed them accordingly. I have come to love working at this school because I see students learning and engaged in their work. I also appreciate the camaraderie among the faculty and staff. However, the thing that I did not expect was getting paid late.” – Beijing BISS International School (Beijing, China)67 Total Comments

“During my interview it was clearly described what I was getting into and what was expected from me. I have been at the school three years now and look to stay on longer.” – American International School of Rotterdam (Rotterdam, Netherlands)52 Comments

“The educational provision of the EYFS and Primary departments has improved rapidly in the 15 months since their establishment. It is now a well organised school and everyone is moving forward together. I could not envisage the progress being so rapid when I started. Currently the school exceeds my expectations.” – Varee Chiang Mai International School (Chang Mai, Thailand)65 Total Comments

“Exceeded- I’ve grown a lot as an educator and the collaboration with my colleagues has really pushed me to try new things and think more deeply about my own practice.” – International School of Brussels (Brussels, Belgium)31 Comments

“The interviews were extremely realistic and did not deceive in any way. The school was far better than expected.” –Woodstock School (Mussoorie, India)58 Comments

“The school definitely exceeded my expectations. It’s such a wonderful place to work at. Teachers , students and office staff really live and work in harmony.” – British International School of Stavanger (Stavanger, Norway)24 Comments

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Photo Contests

Top Three Photos For Best Jump Shot While Traveling: And the winners of this photo contest are…

December 31, 2017

We’re happy to announce the winners of our latest Photo Contest: Your Best Jump Shot While Traveling

First Place“Jumping in the Atacama Desert, Moon Valley, Chile”

jump shot

Congratulations, Kimberlee Peters!

Prize awarded: Premium membership for TWO YEARS on our website!

Second Place: “#pacificcoast #nwusa #americanbeaches”

jump shot

Congratulations, roxanaportland!

Prize awarded: Premium membership for ONE YEAR on our website!

Third Place“Memorable walk on an isolated beach in southern Italy a few year ago. To get a good jump picture it usually takes a few jumps, but believe it or not, this one was the first jump!”

jump shot

Congratulations, Mario Arana!

Prize awarded: Premium membership for SIX MONTHS on our website!

Thanks to everyone who participated!  We have awarded everyone else ONE WEEK of premium membership for participating in this photo contest.

jump shot

Stay tuned for our next photo contest. Check out our previous Photo Contests here.

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Information for Members

Member Search Feature Update: Which Job Titles Do Our 11700+ Members Have?

December 28, 2017

We are getting more and more members every month. Currently, we have over 11700 (up 2836 members since December 2016). We are definitely the place to go for networking with other international school educators!

Out of these thousands of members, we have teachers who hold many types of positions.  Check out our Members’ Job Titles page to see how many we have in each of these positions.


Using the data from this page, here are the current Members’ Job Titles statistics: (28 Dec, 2017)


29 Activities Coordinators – (up 2)
10 Admission Coordinators – (up 2)
7 Admissions – (up 3)
64 Art Teachers – (up 14)
44 Assistant Principals – (up 9)
53 Biology Teachers – (up 7)
24 Business Office Workers – (up 3)
49 Chemistry Teachers – (up 9)
601 Classroom Teachers – (up 95)
17 Communications Workers – (up 4)
64 Counselors – (up 10)
87 Curriculum Coordinators – (up 15)
99 Department Heads – (up 26)
13 Development Workers – (up 1)
21 Drama Teachers – (up 2)
40 Economics Teachers – (up 8)
184 English Teachers – (up 30)
176 EAL Teachers – (up 32)
111 Foreign Language Teachers – (up 14)
16 Geography Teachers – (up 2)
83 Heads of School/Directors – (up 16)
54 History Teachers – (up 11)
80 ICT Teachers – (up 10)
7 Interns – (up 3)
46 Librarians – (up 6)
23 Marketing Workers – (up 2)
137 Math Teachers – (up 33)
67 Music Teachers – (up 13)
6 Nurses – (same)
200 Other – (up 44)
70 P.E. Teachers (up 16)
43 Physics Teachers – (up 11)
77 Principals – (up 15)
8 Psychology Teachers – (up 1)
72 Science Teachers – (up 16)
4 Secretaries – (up 2)
53 Social Studies Teachers – (up 13)
65 Special Needs Teachers – (up 15)
8 Speech Pathologists – (up 1)
26 Teaching Assistants – (up 6)

Biggest increases: EAL Teachers, Classroom Teachers, English Teachers, Science Teachers, Math, Directors and Heads of School.

Want to get a job at an international school in one of these positions? Log-on to International School Community and start contacting our members to get answers to your questions.  Many of our members definitely know about the life of an international school teacher at the schools they currently work at and the schools they have worked at in the past.

So where in the world do our current members live?  The members, who have stated so on their profile, currently live in the following regions of the world:

244 that are currently located in Asia – (up 60)
38 that are currently located in Caribbean – (up 5)
31 that are currently located in Central America – (up 12)
542 that are currently located in East Asia – (up 105)
142 that are currently located in Eastern Europe – (up 20)
383 that are currently located in Middle East – (up 66)
63 that are currently located in North Africa – (up 16)
803 that are currently located in North America – (up 109)
130 that are currently located in Oceania – (up 11)
505 that are currently located in South East Asia – (up 74)
113 that are currently located in South America – (up 15)
145 that are currently located in Sub-Saharan Africa – (up 23)
606 that are currently located in Western Europe – (up 93)

Looks like North America is still in the lead!  We recommend that all our members keep their profile as up to date as possible, so that their networking possibilities can be at their highest. Update yours today.

Check out all of our 11700+ members here.  If you are not a member yet, sign up here for free (Basic Membership)!


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Photo Contests

New Photo Contest: Your Best Jump Shot While Traveling

December 16, 2017

We’ve all done it, trying to get the best jump shot photo of ourselves while traveling around in a beautiful location.

jump shot

This begs the questions, why do people even do jump shots? It might be that it shows how much we are enjoying life, especially the expat life.

Or it might be that we get really excited and want to jump when we are in a spectacular place in the world; blown away by the beauty of the world.

Getting the perfect jump shot is also an obsession as well.

You need the right spot, the right lighting from the sun, and a good camera. It is easier if you are jumping solo. With a group though, the challenge is higher to get everyone synchronized into the perfect jump.

jump shot

So when you get it just right (solo or in a group), it is the best feeling ever!


So, what is your best jump shot while traveling?  Submit your photo to us and enter our photo contest! All participants receive free premium membership to our website!

Photo contest topic:
Your Best Jump Shot While Traveling

1st prize: 2 YEARS FREE of premium membership
2nd prize: 1 YEAR FREE of premium membership
3rd prize: 6 MONTHS FREE of premium membership

(Those submissions that are not in the top three will receive 1 free week of premium membership just for participating.)

Send your photo to editor @ internationalschoolcommunity.com. Please remember to:

• Write your name and email address
• Attach your picture and write a short description about it
• Enter these words in your subject: International School Community Photo Contest Entry: Best Jump Shot While Traveling


Tweet the photo and mention our profile @IS_Community to make sure we will see it. If you are on Instagram, tag us when you post the photo and/or use the official hashtag #iscommunityphoto

(Deadline to submit your photo: Saturday, 30 December, 2017. Maximum one photo entry per contestant.)

Check out our previous Photo Contests here.

Photo credits: Pixabay

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