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Posts Tagged ‘american school of barcelona’

Survey results are in: Which international school teacher conference do you prefer to go to?

The survey results are in, and it seems as if most visitors and members of International School Community who voted have had the most success at IB conferences.

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IB conferences/workshops can prove to be a very motivating and enlightening experience.  Isn’t that what going to conferences is all about?  Most people might say that teaching is viewed as a career, and with careers comes professionalism.  Many international school teachers aspire to be the best professionals in the field.  The IB (PYP and MYP too) teachers definitely have similar aspirations as well; to learn more and more about the new ways of thinking and teaching using inquiry.  They are also looking to learn more about how to make their students’ thinking visible.

But like many workshops that you may attend at international school teaching conferences, the benefit of the workshop you attend greatly depends on the instructor that you get.  It can also be said that the success of your workshop depends on the people that attend it as well.  So many different factors come into play, but when all of them line up correctly, you are most likely in for an enlightening experience.  Those types of workshops can really inspire you throughout the rest of the conference and stay with you when you return back to work.

In terms of staff development benefits, the IBO requires that the teachers working in approved/accredited schools get on going PD in the IB philosophy and latest strategies on how best to instruct students in their inquiry programme. Instead of using your own PD monies to attend IB workshops, very often the school will take the costs involved out of their own monies.

There are many factors to consider when deciding on which international school at which to work.  Knowing about the professional development allowance (or lack there of) can prove to be helpful information to know; just to see what you can expect in terms of you getting the opportunity to attend workshops and conferences while you work there.  Luckily on International School Community, we have a Benefits Information section in the comments and information part of each school’s profile page that discusses this very topic.

• Professional development allowance details.

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Taken from International Community School Addis Ababa (35 Total Comments) school profile page.

There have been many comments and information submitted in this topic on numerous school profiles on our website.

One International School Community member said about working at Mef Int’l School Istanbul: “IBO certified IBDP and PYP training provided. Outside speakers such as Virginia Rojas brought in to provide in house PD.”

Another member said about working at Western International School of Shanghai: “Most teachers don’t get any out of school PD their first year of contract. Depends on the needs of the school.”

Another member submitted a comment about working at American School of Barcelona: “The PD amount is 390 Euros a year. You can roll over this amount for 3 years. But the reality some people get more, it is not so clear cut on who gets what amount and who gets to go to what PD opportunity.”

If you are currently a member of International School Community, please take a moment to share what you know by submitting some comments and information about the PD allowances at your international school. You can start by logging on here.

Stay tuned for our next survey topic which is to come out in a few days time.

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Blogs of international school teachers: “Finding Bliss and Balance in Barcelona”

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

Our 27th blog that we would like to highlight is called “Finding Bliss and Balance in Barcelona”  Check out the blog entries of this international school educator who currently works at American School of Barcelona (91 Total Comments on our website.) in Spain.

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A few entries that we would like to highlight:

Decisions…

“Living abroad has presented challenges in my life that I didn’t know could exist. Still, almost weekly, I have to learn new things about how to live within a new culture and a new system. Routine things, like going to the dentist or getting your hair cut, present new experiences and ask me to adapt to new ways of doing things. Another big challenge lately has come about because of a bike accident Dave had on a rainy night in October.…”

We actually have an article that we have written about the topic of getting a haircut in another country.  You can read the full article here.  A haircut is one thing, but when a big accident occurs while you are living in another country, that can be quite a different, more intense experience.  It is never a good feeling when you are hurt and in need of hospital care and then there being a big language and cultural barrier potentially creating problems and stress.  My experience though in foreign hospitals has all been quite positive.  Many people might be surprised to know that the majority of your experiences in foreign hospitals are actually better than they would be in your home country!

A Surprise Christmas in January

“The incessant ringing caused Dave to do something quite uncharacteristic of himself in the mornings; he exited the warm bed and ran through the frigid hallway to answer the doorbell. From my sleepy stupor I inferred by the muffled Spanish being spoken through our intercom that it was in fact the correos (mail), but that she needed to deliver a package to us instead of just needing to be let in the building to reach everyone’s mailboxes. Again, Dave did something uncharacteristic of himself in the mornings: he threw on his glasses and clothes in a snap. I heard the rapid footsteps of the mail carrier make her way up 4 flights of steps and knock on our door. Dave accepted the package, “Gracias….”

Kind of a strange feeling when you get a buzz on your intercom (when living in a foreign country) and you are not expecting anyone.  Then when the voice starts talking to you in the local language, things can get a bit confusing and quick!  Soon enough you figure out who the person could potentially be and make a connection to the thing you were actually expecting to receive via delivery/the postal carrier.  More often than not, the postal worker does their best to give great service and to try to communicate with you with the least confusion.  But once they arrive at your door, there is not much that is really needed to be said; when you most likely just need to sign your name on some sheet of paper.

Our Stay-cation

“I will have to admit that when we originally decided on a “stacation” I wasn’t stoked as I am always eager to leave the bustle of the city and explore the beauty that the Spanish countryside has to offer. Nevertheless, after a little guidebook research and recommendations from friends at work, we managed to plan a packed week full of eating, drinking, music, and sightseeing in Barcelona. We also snuck in a quick jaunt to Cadaques, which turned out to be the highlight of my vacation…”

We always think about where we (international school teachers) are going to go next.  Actually, many of us feel uneasy when our next trip isn’t planned yet.  No trip to look forward to can be an uneasy feeling!  We do sometimes forget that staying in your host city (or nearby your host city) can actually be an attractive alternative to flying somewhere via a plane.

Want to work for  an international school in the Spain like this blogger?  Currently, we have 25 international schools listed in the Spain on International School Community. Here are a few that have had comments and information submitted on their profiles:

Benjamin Franklin Int’l School (13 Comments)
American School Madrid (7 Comments)
American School Valencia (7 Comments)
El Plantio International School Valencia (4 Comments)
Sotogrande International School (6 Comments)
King’s College – The British School of Madrid (3 Comments)

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

Survey results are in: Where are you spending your ‘extra’ money while teaching abroad?

The survey results are in, and it seems as if most visitors and members of International School Community who voted are spending their ‘Extra’ money on traveling, clothes and food.

I guess it comes as no surprise that international school teachers are traveling a lot.  If we have the time and means to do it, then we often take advantage of this time in our lives (because it might not last for ever!).  We love the fact that we are getting more time for holidays throughout the school year (than maybe you would be getting in your home country).  Some international schools are also celebrating up to three countries’ national holidays!  Being that many of us don’t have family living where we are currently living in the world, there is sometimes no good reason to stick around our host city during our vacation time.  When holiday time comes around, we are all asking each other “Where are you traveling to?”

At one point in my international school teaching career, I was traveling so much that I was averaging 12 new countries a year!  New countries!  And I was at a placement with the lowest salary of my teaching career.  I guess then it all depends on your location in the world and how well that city’s airport is connected to other cities in the world.  Sometimes the cost of living in the city can play a factor as well to how much money you have left over for traveling.  If you pay rent in your current placement, having a roommate too can help you put more of your earnings towards traveling instead of a higher monthly rent that you would be paying if you were living by yourself.

There are many factors to consider.  Knowing about all this information about traveling before you sign a contract can quite important then…that is if traveling is one of your top priorities while living abroad.  Luckily on International School Community, we have a Travel Section in the comments and information part of each school’s profile that discusses this very topic.  There are four topics in this section:

• 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.

There have been many comments and information submitted in the Travel Section on numerous school profiles on our website.

One International School Community member said about working at American School of Barcelona: “It is easy to get to almost every European city from Barcelona for a decent price. You do have to shop around and it is better to book ahead. A flight from Barcelona to the east coast of the USA at Christmas costs around 500-900 Euros.”

Another member said about working at American School of Asuncion: “It is very difficult to travel on a regular weekend, since Asuncion is basically in the middle of nowhere, and flights to the closest cool cities (Buenos Aires and Rio de Janeiro) are expensive. It is also becoming more and more pricey with the Visas required for Bolivia, Chile, Paraguay, Argentina and Brazil. They range from $60-140.”

Another member submitted a comment about the traveling opportunities while working at Kodaikanal International School: “KIS is fortunate in having a fully staffed Travel Office to coordinate student, staff and community travel. Our travel partner ‘Around the World Travel’ is an India-wide agency with decades of experience in providing national and international travel options to and from KIS.”

We also have other comments and information topics in the City Section of the school profile pages that are related to clothing and food.  One of these topics covers the best places in your host city to find good deals on clothing and other shopping.  We all can benefit from hearing about places that are good to go to versus spending time and energy going to ones that aren’t so good in our host city.

For those international school teachers that put going out to eat a lot as a top priority while living abroad, there are also topics that discuss the best places in the city to go out to eat.  We even have a topic that is about restaurants that appeal to the expat community living in that host city (we all want a little ‘familiar’ food every now and then!).

Some of us spend our ‘extra’ money buying imported goods.  Typically the food sold in the local expat grocery store is at a very high price, prices you would never pay if you were living in your home country.  But because of the ‘extra’ money that many international school teachers have while living abroad, we can afford buying these products. Well we can often buy these high-priced products, but maybe not live on these products!

So what are ou spending your ‘extra’ money on while living abroad?  With the appeal of being able to travel to most places in the world and being able to go out to eat more often, it is indeed difficult to save your ‘extra’ money at times.  According to the survey results though, there are some international school teachers that are saving their money.  Some schools actually force you to save in a way, when they transfer part of your salary into your home country bank account while they transfer another part into your local bank account.  Typically you can live on the money transferred into your local account, letting you save the money in your home country bank account very easily and make is ‘less accessible’ to spend too!

To save or not to save…that is the question!

International School Community Member Spotlight #16: Patty Sanchez (An international teacher currently working at American School of Barcelona)

Every 1-2 months International School Community will highlight one of our members in our Member Spotlight feature.  This month we interviewed Patty Sanchez:

Tell us about your background.  Where are you from?

I come from California and moved to Barcelona 10 years ago with the sole intention of exposing myself to a new culture.  I landed my first job as a teacher two weeks after arriving in August 2001. I got really lucky to have found a job so soon after coming here without any contacts. It was an intense two years working at a private Catholic school while adapting to a culture I had read about in my college history classes.

How did you get started in the international teaching community?

After my second year I returned to California and taught ninth grade English. It was one my happiest years of teaching. I married my Catalan husband and returned to Spain and decided I would work in an international setting.

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 currently work at The American School of Barcelona. It’s a great place to work because the school environment is friendly and many of the teachers become an extension of your family. The school is progressive in its plan to prepare students with a well rounded academic experience with social issues and with an academic future. It’s a school where students feel safe and capable to accomplish their future success as students. We have really great teachers leading students with the tools they need to reason and investigate information surrounding everyday issues.

Describe your latest cultural encounter in your current placement, one that put a smile on your face.

At El Prat Airport in Barcelona immigration agents talked away while looking briefly at my passport and stamped it without saying anything to me. The agent just waved her hand gesturing I could pass to baggage claims. This would never happen in America. Agents in the U.S. quiz you about your city of birth, your middle name, your whereabouts, etc., until you start squirming and wonder if you indeed are American.

What are some important things that you look for when you are searching for a new position at an international school?

If I had to look for a job in a new country, I would take into account salary and the location of the school. Is it in a safe area? Can I have a normal life outside of school? How much is the cost of living? Can I afford to live on my own on the salary I would be earning? Can I afford to travel after rent and utility bills? These would be the questions to take into account if you are looking to live abroad.

In exactly 5 words, how would you describe the international school teaching experience?

Make the best of it.

Thanks Patty! Also, check out her blog about her travels and life living abroad as an expat here.

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 teach at an international school in Spain like Patty?  Currently, we have 25 international schools listed in Spain on International School Community.  Many of the international schools there have had comments and information submitted about them on our website:

American School of Barcelona (79 Comments)
Benjamin Franklin Int’l School (13 Comments)
American School Valencia (7 Comments)
Sotogrande International School (6 Comments)
British School of Alicante (3 Comments)
El Plantio International School Valencia (4 Comments)
King’s College – The British School of Madrid (3 Comments)

International Teaching Predictions for 2012 #1: Western Europe

#1: International Schools in Western Europe

“Europe has been very slow this year in terms of growth of international schools and I expect this to continue.  I predict that barring any further economic disasters in Euroland, many teachers in European schools will stay put and schools will not contract but continue to hold off expansion plans so opportunities will be very limited.  We can expect teacher salaries to remain flat with little competition to force them up, and in many parts of western Europe tax rates will probably increase.

For those with a right to work in the UK, public sector funding will limit the amount of supply jobs. However, London is a transitory place and therefore usually a vibrant market for resilient and flexible supply teachers who can teach successfully at challenging inner-city schools.  In the rest of England, however, Agency Worker Regulations are reshaping the landscape and teachers with a lot of experience will often be disadvantaged if they try to land long term supply jobs. We are renewing our partnership with Randstad Education so any teachers with a right to work in the UK wanting to work in London or Manchester areas should contact us.”

Taken from the “Teach the World with Teachanywhere” blog written by General Manager by Diane Jacoutot.


Currently (as of 11 March, 2012), on www.internationalschoolcommunity.com, we have 194 international schools listed in this region of the world.  That’s 35 more international schools than the region of the world with the next highest number which is in East Asia.  I am not for sure what that exactly means though as there just might be more international schools in Asia than in Europe or in the Middle East.  But what it does mean is that there are what would seem to be many options for people wanting to work in Western Europe.

Out of the 22 countries we have listed in Western Europe, the top four countries with the highest number of international schools listed on International School Community are the following:
1. Germany (32)
2. Italy (22)
3. Spain (21)
4. Switzerland (15)Some more facts about these Western European international schools:
• 36 teach the American Curriculum, 61 teach the U.K. curriculum and 18 teach the IPC curriculum.
• 61 are less than 15 years old, 91 are between 16 and 50 years old and 42 are more than 51 years old.
• 48 are For-profit schools and 146 are Non-profit schools.

The following schools have had comments and information submitted on them:
There are many more!  Check out the rest of them here.Many of our members currently work at international schools in Western Europe:
Natasha Marsoner (Munich International School)
Jeff Shaw (International School of the Hague)
Alex Lianne  (École Internationale Académie de la Capitale International School)
Cory Greenberg (Copenhagen International School)
Ian Lally (John F. Kennedy School Berlin)
Josselyn van der Pol (Berlin Brandenburg International School)

There are many more! Check out the rest of them here. If you are interested in working at an international school in Western Europe that one of our members currently works at, feel free to send these members a private message with the questions and concerns you would like first-hand account answers too.

So, we will just have to wait and see then how the “International School Community” in Western Europe actually pans out for the year 2012.

Comments and information about hiring policies on International School Community #3

Comments and information about hiring policies on International School Community:

Every week members are leaving information and comments about the hiring policies at international schools around the world.  Which ones go to the Search Associates Recruitment Fairs?  Which ones hold interviews over Skype?  Which ones have hiring restrictions imposed on them by the host country?  All important questions to think about when job searching, but where to find the answers to those questions?

Sometimes it is hard to keep track of which international schools go to which recruitment fairs and which interview style and tactic each international schools employs.  At International School Community, we want to make the search for information about hiring policies easier for international school teachers. In the school section of each international school profile page on our website, there is a section specific to the school’s hiring policies.  The topic is: “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?”

Here are 3 out of the numerous comments and information related to the hiring policies of international schools that have been posted on our website:

American School of Barcelona (63 Total Comments)

“They have gone to CIS and Search London and also hire on Tie-online. It is possible to be hired without a face to face interview.”

Hampton International School (13 Total Comments)

“Face-to-face interviews, no or limited use of recruiting agencies.”

International School Monagas (8 Total Comments)

“The school goes through Search Associates. Teachers must have appropriate degree for teaching the subject of major concentration and by under 65 years of age. They are willing to hire interns for certain positions.”

Check out the more than 90 comments and information about the hiring policies of numerous international schools at www.internationalschoolcommunity.com.

International School Community Member Spotlight #8: Gloria Hewitt

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

Tell us about your background.  Where are you from?

I was born and raised in Spain, attending international schools in Barcelona and Madrid.  My father’s American  and my mom is Spanish, so I was always considered ½ and ½ .  I went to college in the U.S. and got a B.F.A. (Fine Arts) from Otis College in Los Angeles.  I started teaching at a public school in L.A. in 1998 and never looked back.

How did you get started in the international teaching community?

In 2006 I made the decision to move back to my “home town” and applied for a job at my old school, The American School of Barcelona.  I worked there for 4 years where I shared students and classrooms with some of the elementary school teachers from my childhood.  My experience at ASB was a wonderful experience.  Once I had those years under my belt…I was hooked on the International School life-style.  Our initial idea was to move to Argentina, where my husband is from, but when the opportunity came up to move to Brazil and teach at Graded, my family and I were thrilled to take on the challenge. 

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 American School of Barcelona and Graded – The American School of São Paulo.  The best part of ASB was it’s location,  Barcelona.  Graded is challenging in a professional way, but São Paulo is a tough city.

Describe your latest cultural encounter in your current placement, one that put a smile on your face.

Graded is very strong on offering Community Service opportunities in the area.  I am the staff leader for one of those groups, in which a group of high school students fund-raise for and visit a Cancer Shelter close by.  Every time we visit this location I am further impressed by how mature and resilient our students can be.  It’s quite inspiring.

What are some important things that you look for when you are searching for a new position at an international school?

Location is key.  I look for a place that I can picture myself living for at least 3-4 years.  In my case, I need to consider my non-teaching spouse.  He can legally work in South America & Europe, so I’m going to be drawn to those areas.  Another really important factor is the true savings potential.  Each school has it, some more than others, and I’m more interested in saving money than traveling. 

In exactly 5 words, how would you describe the international school teaching experience?

Stimulating,  unpredictable,  addictive,  inspiring, challenging.

Thanks Gloria!  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!