At International School Community there is no reason to be anonymous. We want you to be searchable so that you and other members can network with each other. Putting a real face of yourself and using your real name will help you do just that. Sometimes it is all about who you know in the "international school community". As you add contacts to your member profile, you will be able to see your network of connections grow. When you visit school profile pages, you will see all the members that currently work there as well as other members whom have worked there in the past. Finally, your name will never be posted with your any of your submitted comments on school profile pages.
We wanted to provide as many topics as possible for members to leave information, comments and feedback. We also wanted to organize it in a way that would be very user-friendly. It was designed to make it easy for members to find the specific information that they are looking for as they skim each school profile page.
Please let use know If you have any ideas for more topics to be added or a suggestion on which ones to take out.
The current sections on the school profile pages are:
- What type/s of accreditation does this school have? When is the accreditation up for renewal? Any religious affiliations?
- Recent things that the school has taken on (i.e. new curriculum, specific professional development, etc.).
- Describe their hiring policies. Which recruiting fairs do they go to? How do they typically hire (e.g. face-to-face interview, Skype, etc.)? Are there any hiring restrictions mandated by the country?
- Describe school's location in relation to the city center and to the teachers' housing.
- Are the expectations high of teaching staff? Describe workload details.
- Average class size for primary and secondary. Describe any aid support.
- Describe language abilities of students at this school and what is the "common language spoken in the hallways"?
- Describe what kinds of teachers work here (local vs. expat, nationality, qualifications [or lack there of], etc.) and staff turnover rate.
- What types of budgets to classroom teachers/departments get?
- PARENTS ONLY - General comments from parents of students that go to this school.
- What types of sports programs and activities does the school offer?
- Name some special things about this school that makes it unique.
- In general, describe the demeanor of the students.
SCHOOL INFO - SURVEY TOPICS:
- General behavior of the students
- Method of teacher appraisal
- Human resources and Business Department
- Effectiveness of administration
- School visions/commitment/curriculum use
- Current staff morale indicator
- New teacher orientation
- Teacher collegiality
- Effectiveness of board or school decision makes
- Quality of school building and campus
- Quality of resources currently available at the school
- Support services (EAL, SEN, Mother Tongue Programs, etc...)
- Has the school met your expectations once you started working there?
- What does the school do to create a harmonious state of well-being and high morale amongst its staff?
- Describe the technologies available at the school and how people are/are not using them.
- Details about the current teacher appraisal process?
- Is the student population declining, staying the same or increasing? Give details why.
- How have certain things improved since you started working there?
- How is this school different or the same when compared to schools in your home country?
- What controversies have been happening lately? Please be objective.
- What insider information would you give to a teacher considering working at this school?
- How much curriculum development work are you expected to do? (Atlas Rubicon, etc.)
- Average monthly salary after taxes and in what currency (explain taxation situation). How often do you get paid throughout the year?
- Details about the staff housing or the housing allowance. If there is no housing allowance, how much are rent costs and utilities?
- Average amount of money that is left to be saved.
- Detailed info about flight, shipping and settling-in allowances.
- Health insurance and medical benefits.
- Ways to make extra money (tutoring, after-school activities, etc.).
- Information about benefits for teachers with dependents.
- Professional development allowance details.
- Pension plan.
- Describe your experience bringing pets.
- How do the school's benefits compare to other international schools in the area/city?
- Explain how salaries are decided (e.g. is there a pay schedule? extra step for masters degree? Annual pay raises?).
- How is the school calendar? Is there ample vacation time?
- What are some things that you need to buy/pay for when you first arrive at the school that you didn't know about beforehand?
- Details about the maternity benefits of the host country and school.
- What is the process of getting reimbursed for things?
- Details about new teacher orientation.
- In general, why are people staying at or leaving this school?
- Details about the teaching contract. What important things should prospective teachers know about?
BENEFITS INFO - SURVEY TOPICS:
- Cost of living in relation to the salary.
- Does the school pay staff on time?
- School's help and guidance regarding work visas.
- Possibility of living here with a non-working partner on one salary.
- Name your favorite restaurants, favorite places to go to and favorite things to do in the city.
- Locations in the city geared towards the expat lifestyle (grocery stores, bars, etc.).
- Sample prices for food, transportation, average hourly rates for a housekeeper, etc.
- Detailed info about lifestyles: singles vs. couples, gay vs. straight, nightlife vs. quiet and big city vs nature.
- Languages of the host city and the level of English spoken there.
- Sample activities, classes and clubs for teachers with children.
- Describe the city's weather at different times of the year.
- Places, markets and stores where you can find really good deals.
- Describe a funny culture shock moment that you've had recently in this city.
- Where did the school take you in the city when you first arrived? What were some staff outings/party locations?
- What is the best part of living in this city for you?
- What advice can you give on how to set things up like internet, phone, experience dealing with landlord, etc.?
- Tell your experience moving your items to this city. What company, insurance policy, etc. did you use?
- Tell about your experience with the local banks and dealing with multiple currencies.
- What are some locals customs (regarding eating, drinking and going out, family, socializing, etc.) that you find interesting for expats to know about?
- Tell about your experiences in the local grocery stores. What can you get or cannot get? Which ones are your favorites.
- What is the most challenging/difficult part of living in the city?
CITY INFO - SURVEY TOPICS:
- In general, how do you like living in this city?
- Availability and quality of local healthcare
- Temperament of locals towards foreigners
- Cost and efficiency of the public transportation
- Stability of local area and country
- Potential of making friends with locals and other expats outside of the school
- Sample travel airfares from host city airport to destinations nearby.
- Describe proximity of major airport hubs to the city center and give sample taxi, train, subway and/or bus fares to get there.
- Popular travel websites to buy plane tickets or tours that are popular for expats living in the city and/or country.
- Places to travel to outside the city by bus or train.
- Are there many teachers that travel during the holidays? Where are they going?
- What are the airports like in this city? (arriving, departing, shopping, customs, etc.)
With that being said, if for some reason your payment was made by mistake or you are not satisfied with any aspect of your premium membership to our website, we will refund 100% of your money back to you. This request for a full refund though must be made within 24 hours of your initial purchase. Contact us at admin[at]internationalschoolcommunity[dot]com if you have any questions or concerns about our return policy.
We use the latest numbers from Wikipedia. We also used the metro area population instead of just the city proper itself. We thought it would give a better indication of the actual number of people that live in and around the city.
It will always be free to sign up and become a basic member, which will give you access to more pages than a non-member. There is a subscription fee to become a premium member, which gives you access to ALL pages. You can check out why a basic members would want to become a premium member here.
Throughout the year there will be a variety of promotional discounts and incentive offers being sent to all our members to get either free or discounted premium members subscriptions.
There are indeed a few other review and comment-based websites currently on the internet helping out international school educators gather information about international schools around the world. However, International School Community is trying to take it to the next level.
So, what are some ways that make International School Community unique?
- A member is able to find real people that work at the schools they are interested in. Integrated networking! If a member lists a school that they currently work at or have worked at in the past on their profile, their name will show up in the Members of this School section on the school profile pages. That means you now have a real person to contact that can answer your specific questions about the school! Those other websites don't allow for this type of of networking.
- You can search for other international school educators based on criteria. For example, if you want to find where the EAL teachers are in East Asia, just search it on our website. Again, networking has just become that easier!
- You can search for the international school based on your criteria. For example, if you want to find a school that is in Western Europe, that teaches the UK curriculum and that is in a city less that 750,000 people. You can do just that using the search feature on our homepage! Finding the right school for you is possible on International School Community. We don't know another website that currently has that kind of search power.
- International School Community is organized. Finally, now you can find the information you want, easier and faster. For example, if you want to know more information about the housing allowance, just go to the Benefits section. If you want to more about school grounds, just look in the School section. Other websites put all the school, benefits, city and travel info all in the same section which takes longer to find the information you are looking for.
- Our website focuses more positive and really useful information sharing. All schools have good and bad aspects. International School Community allows for members to leave truthful, firsthand information no matter if it is good or bad. We have structured all of our questions to not allow for our members to rant on and on about certain aspects of the school. The more controversial topics are put in the voting sections, where members are only allowed to vote.
These 5 things are just a few of what makes International School Community different from what's currently out there. And guess what? We have plans to add more features and functions that will make being a member even more beneficial.
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Contact us at editor[at]internationalschoolcommunity[dot]com if you have any questions or concerns about our website or your current membership.