Posts Tagged ‘international educator’

International School Community Member Spotlight #19: Andrew Vivian (An veteran international teacher currently working at MV Education Services)

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

(This member spotlight is a continuation from an interview we did earlier which can be found here.)

From there, we spent a year in Guangzhou, China, at Utahloy International School, with Helen as Primary Principal and me as Head of Science. Guangzhou, despite the air quality, was a really nice place to live. We started off in an apartment in town, while we looked for a place big enough to hold our material possessions – for us, home is where we live, and we take our furniture and everything with us, so relocation costs are substantial. We ended up in a ground-floor apartment out of town, but only a cheap 30-minute taxi ride to “the action”. The shopping was the main attraction, particularly for Helen,

We were asked to come and work at a school in Jakarta, and relocated, because we wanted to continue teacher training and we love Indonesia. Things didn’t work out, and we decided to try our hands at consulting, because we have a lot of connections with Indonesian private schools and Helen is a well-established Primary Years Programme workshop leader for the IB. After a year and a half for Helen, and a year for me, we are keeping the wolf from the door. Helen does a lot of IB workshops around Asia, and is working with the management of a school in East Jakarta. I’ve done one workshop for the IB, a few in Jakarta and one in Beijing. My main work has been a couple of tours doing school inspections in Dubai. I’ve done some course writing and prepared some teaching materials for a couple of organisations. We have just finalised our working visas and our Indonesian company, and will, hopefully, be expanding our business soon.

Teaching internationally has been great for us. We’ve had a few heartbreaks, but, overall we have been able to save money, travel, and every day brings a new experience. We have been to most of the countries in Asia, and some amazing places in them. We speak Bahasa Indonesia, so, when we see something interesting, we can ask questions. One of our delights in Surabaya was just walking through the villages behind us, and talking to the locals.

We’ve had a lot of funny experiences, and no really dangerous ones. For example, we were on a boat up river in Kalimantan, after visiting the orang-utan sanctuary, when the boat broke down, 50 km from the port. We literally hitch-hiked with a passing fisherman. Enroute to Tibet, we stopped in Chengdu, in China. We caught a taxi to a restaurant recommended in a guide book. Half-way there, we realised that we didn’t have the hotel’s card, so we had no way of knowing where to go back to or how to communicate it to anyone. After dinner it took us two taxi rides and a 1km walk before we recognised a landmark.

International schools are funny places – some are excellent. Also, the “true” international schools now make up only a fraction of the places in which you can teach internationally and in tougher economic times, in Asia, at least, they have increasing numbers of local students anyway. Overall the positives tend to outweigh the negatives. Our philosophy is that we want to make a difference, so that working in host-country schools that offer IB programmes is our preference. Not everyone is comfortable in these sort of schools, but they are the places that give real insight into other cultures.

Many people like to teach overseas for the change in locale. That is a factor for us, but it is more about the sort of school we work in. For us, working in IB schools has been fabulous. We have been to most of the regional conferences over the past ten years and have met so many talented, committed people. We get to visit schools and help teachers do it better. In the process, we keep learning something new about education most days.

One thing I would recommend is to get everything in writing and even then, depending on which country you are in, it doesn’t matter any way if someone decides to be unpleasant. If you are prepared to “roll with the punches”, while sticking to your principles, then teaching internationally can be amongst the best things you can do in education.

In 5 words: adventure, culture, education, difference, satisfaction.

Make sure the check out Andrew’s website which tells more about the services he currently offers to international schools.

Thanks Andrew!

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 work for an international school in Guangzhou like Andrew?  Currently, we have 8 international schools listed in Guangzhou on International School Community. Here are a few that have had comments and information submitted on their profiles:

American International School of Guangzhou (12 Comments)
Guangzhou Nanhu International School (4 Comments)
Alcanta International College (6 Comments)
Guangzhou Huamei International School (5 Comments)
Clifford International School (8 Comments)
The Affiliated High School of SCNU (8 Comments)


Haircuts in other countries: What’s your strategy? Which language? What cost?

How important is your hair to you?  For some, it is quite important!  Many of us, once we find a good hair stylist, we stay with that person for awhile.  Why take a chance on another salon and stylist and receive a potential “bad haircut?”  Others like the challenge of finding the perfect stylist to do the perfect haircut, so they hop around trying new ones every time they need a haircut.

In your home country, you can just make an appointment or walk-in to any hair cutting salon and get your haircut by a hairstylist who most likely will be able to speak to you in your home language; easier to avoid a bad haircut when you are able to communicate exactly what you would like. Well at times, it can though be a little bit challenging communicating what you would like in your home language too I suppose.

Now, living in another country, things can definitely be a challenge and quite different.  You maybe are now not able to go just anywhere to get your hair cut.  You may also be presented with some big challenges with communication.  Some big cities around the world would for sure have stylists that can speak your home language (English we will say for the purposes of this article), but paying the potential very high price for a stylist that can speak English may not be the best option for you.  In other cities you will just have to get your haircut speaking (or not speaking) in another language which can be quite the experience (and nerve-wreaking)!  If you are highly proficient in the host country language, then maybe it is not a big deal.  However if the host language is new to you or you lack the correct hair-cutting vocabulary, it is can be a challenging experience.

If you don’t know the language, you are left with two options: one is to just go into a salon, point to your hair and make lots of gestures, and just sit there…no talking.  Well there is talking going on, you are speaking English and stylist is speaking their language…but no listening comprehension though is happening.  Another option I suppose is to invite a friend or colleague with you that can speak the language to be your interpreter and hopefully stay the whole time that you are in the salon.

The trust factor has to be high when getting your haircut in another country, but I suppose that there is always a trust factor involved when you are getting your haircut disregarding whether you can speak the language or not.

Now on to price! 

Are you living in a country where haircuts are 1-2 USD, the same price you would pay in your home country or are you living in a country where an average haircut is way above what you would normally pay back home?  It is nice to pay hardly anything to get your haircut.  Some guys get their haircut every 3-4 weeks, so that can add up in some countries in the world.  In China, it is definitely possible for a guy to get their haircut for 1-2 U.S. Dollars. It may not be in the nicest salon on the planet, but it will get the job done.  Also in China if you pay a little bit more money, they will shampoo and wash your hair as well.  They have an interesting system devised for this.  Typically when you sit down one employee will put a little bit of shampoo on your hair (remember now you are still sitting in the normal chair that the hair stylist will give you your haircut in…with dry hair).  The system involves slowly adding water to the shampoo as they work it into your hair.  It all works very well actually as no water or shampoo falls down.  If you are luckily, the whole lathering part is actually a very nice head massage.  That same employee will then take you over to the sinks to wash out the shampoo.  When that employee brings you back to your chair, they move on to another client to shampoo their hair as another employee (the actual hairstylist) comes over to start cutting your hair.

This experience is all nice and wonderful, that is if you can get yourself in the door of the salon.  In a not so fond culture shock moment for you, it is possible you might be turned away when you don’t speak the language.  Sometimes to clear up any confusion on anyone’s part, it is always good to get a set price for your haircut before you sit down in the chair.  If you know how much haircuts are going for in your host city, then there is usually no problem with agreeing on a price for your haircut (usually a calculator is shown to you at this point).  However, if you don’t know what the going price is, sometimes you can feel like your a getting ripped off.  Even before there is a discussion about price, you might feel unwanted or turned away.  The reason is not always known, but the lack of communication is just too much for some people and even a smile doesn’t help.

Anyone else like to try getting their haircut during their travels?

I used to make that one goal of mine.  How many different countries can I get my haircut in?  One time in Botswana, I was in a rural location.  I saw a 3-walled wooden shack that had an image of some people and the words hair cut on a sign.  I went in to get my haircut with the help of my local tour guide.  He got a haircut first actually and then it was my turn.  My tour guide explained what I wanted, but that didn’t even matter.  The guy cutting hair said that he had never cut a white man’s hair before, so he didn’t know what to do!  I just told him to buzz it all off then, since he did have clippers.

It turned out to get a great buzz-cut and a fun, memorable cross-cultural experience.

Now it is not so bad to get your haircut in a shack, but what about just outside on a busy street?  While traveling in Delhi, I found that getting your haircut in the street to be quite commonplace.  How great to live in a country where you can give haircuts outside all year round? I’m sure the stylist will do their best work too as there are many eyes watching around him/her and they all could be potential future clients!

So what’s your strategy to get a haircut in the country you live in?  What language do you speak in?  How much money do you pay?  Share your cross-culture haircut stories!

Highlighted Article: An educator shares about his over 20 years of experience working at and with international schools (Part 1)

 An educator shares about his experiences working over 20 years in and with international schools (Part 1)

I began teaching a long time ago, in a brand new high school, 35km south east of Melbourne, Australia. I was trained as a Science and Mathematics teacher, but, over the years, I’ve taught just about everything except Art – it has really helped to give me an understanding of how young people learn. I worked in secondary schools around Melbourne for a while, and had a stint as a government curriculum consultant in my district.

A friend had induced my former wife and I to go on a group tour to Bali, the first time I had been overseas (like many, many Australians). We then visited the same friend when she went to work in Penang, and then I was fortunate to be part of a trip to Los Angeles and Brazil through Rotary.

My former spotted an advertisement in the paper for Hiroshima International School. I applied, and got the job as the teacher of 25 grade 6 to 10 students. At that time, the school was in the process of planning a move from a small warehouse in the inner suburbs to a new school further out. We had two small children, and lived in a house about 1km up the hill (and there are plenty of them in Japan) from the school.

Living in Japan was wonderful, and we had a lot of amazing experiences. We made friends with our neighbours, even though only one of them spoke English, and we spoke virtually no Japanese. Everyone we met was very friendly. We returned to Melbourne after one year and resumed a normal suburban existence.

My true international career began much later, when things weren’t going that well in my life. I went to an information night for a recruiting agent. It was mentioned that Bali International School needed an IT person, so I went home, adjusted my CV accordingly, and got the job. I worked with some very talented teachers in a small school, and met my wife, Helen, there. During my fourth year, things didn’t quite go to plan, and I found myself helping a friend establish a small school, which became an economic casualty of the Bali bombing. It was at B.I.S. that I first became involved with the International Baccalaureate, through the Middle Years Programme. I really liked it, because it was in line with what we had been doing in secondary schools back in Australia. Bali was a good place to live, and we all worked hard and partied hard.

Helen and I found jobs at Sekolah Ciputra, in Surabaya. I was running their new international program, out of Melbourne, with 12 students out of 90 in Grade 12. Helen was a classroom teacher, but, during the break, successfully applied for the position of Elementary Principal. By the end of the first year, I found myself as Secondary Principal. We were there for seven years, and turned it into an excellent 3-programme IB school. A major factor was the professional development that we did with our colleagues every week. It was very difficult at first, because we were foreigners who were really changing the paradigms, but we persevered and still keep in touch with many of our Indonesian colleagues.

The school was in a large estate on the western outskirts of the city, and we had a great lifestyle, Golf, on a fabulous course, was part of the contracts, and we often hacked our way around. We could go for bicycle ride out through the villages on the weekends and there was enough to do in the city to keep us occupied.

Stay tuned next month for the 2nd part of this article.  In the meantime, make sure the check out Andrew’s website which tells more about the services he currently offers to international schools.

Blogs of international school teachers: “Art Teach Travel.”

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

Our 21st blog that we would like to highlight is called “Art Teach Travel”  Check out the blog entries of this school teacher who has lived and worked in the United States for many years teaching art.  She has aspirations to join the international school community in the very near future.  She has written some great insight related to the different kinds of international school recruitment fairs currently on offer to people looking for a job at an international school.

A few entries that we would like to highlight:

ISS (International Schools Services)

“Since 1955, International Schools Services (ISS) has been dedicated to providing international students access to a premier Western education. It is difficult for ISS to give me data regarding how many art positions are available each year because, unlike UNI, they have continual, year-round recruitment fairs at various locations around the world. Currently, ISS has five recruitment conferences scheduled in 2012-13 to include Philadelphia; Nice, France; Atlanta; Bangkok and San Francisco. There will be more posted as dates are confirmed.

In 2010, a variety of schools, in countries such as China, Israel, Kuwait, Lebanon, Nigeria, Saudi Arabia, South Korea, Switzerland, UAE and Vietnam, needed art teachers but each year the represented schools and countries are varied. There is no way to predict how many schools from how many countries will need art teachers each year. When I recently inquired there were 11 positions most recently available…”

I think about this too. For most teachers looking for a job at an international school, in any given year, always must take a gamble.  The gamble is just how this blogger described: you never know what vacancies are going to be available the year you decide to look for a job abroad (and in the city or country you most want to work in).  Some more experienced teachers in the international school community do tend to wait until the right job comes up (usually found out through their extensive network of international educator colleagues) and then they decide to leave their current school.  However, there are a number of teachers that don’t have that luxury and they take a big chance that the perfect job will present itself the year they decide to look. Going to the recruitment fair is fun though really.  If you are luckily, you have many interviews to consider at the fair.  I think I went to about seven interviews at the last recruitment fair that I attended.  They say to even go to the ones that you are pretty sure you are not interested in…because “you never know.”  Also, it is quite interesting to learn more about the many different international schools around the world and what they are doing and have to offer.

It is good to check how many positions are available on the recruitment fair’s website before you get to the fair, but it is also good to know that things can change very quickly.  The vacancies listed on their website can change….a lot, so be prepared as you are walking around during the first round robin session and checking out their vacancies posters. Though on the other hand, if you have contacted a school beforehand and they have shown interest in you about a vacancy, still go up to the table and get the latest update (if you don’t see the vacancy listed on the poster), as you never know what has happened and the position might indeed be available again in a day, a week, etc…

Should I stay or should I go? (Part 1 of 3)

“So now, years later, I’m asking the same question: Should I stay or should I go? This time, I’m talking about my job, the Dallas art scene, my home in Texas and my country. I’ve been exploring how to combine my love of teaching with my love of adventure and travel. Teaching art in an international school may be my way to do that.

Although there are many educational placement companies, I have narrowed my search down to three: UNI (University of Northern Iowa), ISS (International Schools Services) and SA (Search Associates). Although I’ve never taught internationally, I have read many others’  personal accounts through various forum blogs…”

Waiting for the right time to enter the international school community can take awhile for some people.  Taking the risk of leaving your current job in your home country, leaving your friends and family, and then ultimately leaving your home country itself is quite the challenge.  I remember my teacher friends being ready years before me.  I had many things that I had to deal with first, and it took me six years (after I first started teaching with my teaching license) until my life was ready to finally go to a recruitment fair.  I don’t remember thinking that staying (in my current job and home country) really was option anymore…once I had finally made my decision to teach abroad.  Luckily, things worked out well and I got the job of my dreams at the first recruitment fair that I had ever been to, with no prior international school teaching experience.  I think the “power” was definitely in the candidate’s favor back then!

Now I am currently at my third international school, and I still ask the questions to myself “Should I stay or should I go?” Even though most contracts are for two years, it is always good to stay a little bit after that initial contract and sometimes there is a nice financial incentive to stay longer too!  Your school in your home country probably wouldn’t be offering you any bonuses to stay with them!  One of the many perks teaching at international schools versus teaching in your home country.

If you are also interested in starting your career in the international school community, feel free to check out the 1245+ international schools that are listed on International School Community here. Also, don’t forget to check out our latest submitted comments and information about these schools.

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

Video Highlight: Hong Kong International School (Hong Kong, China)

There are so many international schools in Hong Kong.  Which ones are good places for international school teachers to work at?  How does the international teaching community view the international schools there?

Hong Kong International School

Inspiring speech by the founder of this school – Dr. Mel Kieschnick. What a history this school must have being that it was founded back in 1956!d

There have been 33 comments and information submitted on this international school on our website.  Want to know more about what life is like as a teacher at this international school?  Take a look a their profile page on our website – Hong Kong International School

Additionally, you can check out the school’s website here and their employment page here.

Currently on we have 23 international schools listed in the city of Hong Kong.  The number of comments and information that have been submitted for each school is listed to the right the link to each school.  Here are a just a few of them:

American International School (Hong Kong) (22 Comments)
Hong Kong Academy Primary School (14 Comments)
Renaissance College Hong Kong (5 Comments)
Singapore International School (Hong Kong) (7 Comments)
Yew Chung International School (Hong Kong) (8 Comments)
International Christian School (Hong Kong) (19 Comments)
Li Po Chun United World College of Hong Kong (11 Comments)

If you know about what it is like working at one of these international schools in Hong Kong, log-on today and submit your own comments and information.  If you submit more than 30 comments and information, then you can get 1 year of premium access to International School Community for free!

Video Highlight: KIS International School (Bangkok, Thailand)

There are so many international schools in Bangkok.  Which ones are good places for international school teachers to work at?  How does the international teaching community view the international schools there?

KIS International School (Bangkok)

The school building looks quite big.  Also, there is a large outdoor swimming pool and a climbing wall.

The outdoor playgrounds appear to have tarps installed on the trees to aid in shading the heat from the sun.

Looks like the students enjoy playing soccer as most students at international schools do during their play time.

The school has the students wearing uniforms appropriate to the tropical climate of the country.

Every shot of a classroom makes it seem as if there is much learning space allotted for the students. It is nice to have a lot of space for students to explore and not be so distracted by others in the room.

The indoor shot of the atrium looks impressive and definitely creates a welcoming feeling as you walk along the hallways of the school.

I noticed a shot of an exercise room on campus.  I still haven’t had the chance to work at an international school that had one of these.  Would be nice to have access to a gym on campus!

Wow their special celebration days look to be quite the spectacular!  There is a great open space outside on the field to hold these types of big events.

There have been 39 comments and information submitted on this international school on our website.  Want to know more about what life is like as a teacher at this international school?  Take a look a their profile page on our website – KIS International School (Bangkok) (39 Comments)

Additionally, you can check out the school’s website here and their employment page here.

Currently on we have 24 international schools listed in the city of Bangkok.  The number of comments and information that have been submitted for each school is listed to the right the link to each school.  Here are a just a few of them:

Bangkok Patana School (14 Comments)
Harrow International School (Bangkok) (10 Comments)
International School Bangkok (16 Comments)
St. Stephen’s International School (Bangkok) (8 Comments)
Hampton International School (13 Comments)
Thai-Chinese Int’l School Bangkok (7 Comments)
Berkeley International School (Bangkok) (8 Comments)

If you know about what it is like working at one of these international schools in Bangkok, log-on today and submit your own comments and information.  If you submit more than 30 comments and information, then you can get 1 year of premium access to International School Community for free!

Blogs of international school teachers: “Gary and Sally: About international teaching”

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

Our 18th blog that we would like to highlight is called “Gary and Sally: About international teaching”  Check out the blog entries of these international school teachers who have worked in both Dubai and Almaty (including even a few other cities around the world).

A few entries that we would like to highlight:

International schools – “The circuit”

In the world of international education there are many teachers who are “on the circuit”. It is in fact a very small community and the chances are that you will know someone who has been to a specific school, once you have been in one or two schools overseas. Don’t be surprised after some years if you walk into a staffroom in a different school, and country, and you meet someone you worked with in another school.

School reputations are developed among the teachers through word of mouth, staff at a good school will be very positive and upbeat, staff at a school with issues will not be so positive. You have to learn to read between the lines – sometimes what is left unsaid is more important than what is said – in the similar way that recruiters are careful to give you the good side.

When you attend a job fair, one of the best things you can do is talk to other candidates in the recruiting lounge, over a coffee etc, and ask about the international schools in their country, and also their current school. For example you can find out if there is a stable staff or a regular high turnover – things that most recruiters are unlikely to pass on. In some cases there are one or two international schools in the country, so it is worth asking – in other countries there are numerous schools. Word of mouth and the reactions and knowledge of people “on the ground” is very important – as they are not only able to tell you about the school, but also the general lifestyle, cost of living, social opportunities, potential for saving etc etc.

Other teachers are your best resource, in my opinion, for honest information about schools. Of course there will be some teachers who will be unhappy in a school (not because of the school, but because of themselves) and will be negative, but these are easy to spot, so you can usually discount their vitriol against a school and its administration.  Most people will give you a balanced view of the school, point out some of the negatives and things that need to be addressed, but will also be honest about the positives in the school as well. One sign of a good school is one which will put current teachers in touch with you (after you sign the contract :) ) so that you can ask them direct questions about the school.

A recent development I have noticed in the last few years is that some teachers encourage colleagues from a previous school to come to a school where they are, this has many benefits, for the school and the people coming in –

* they do not have to recruit the teacher through Search or CIS,
* the school is trusting the staff they have to bring in tried and tested staff who they rate,
* the people being employed usually do not have to attend a job fair,
* and they have the safety of mind that their friends have checked out the country and school for them.”

The international school community is indeed quite small.  With a prediction of there being over 10,000 international schools in the next decade (there are just around 6,000 right now) the community of teachers might be just getting a little bit larger.  I think there are many factors that determine the school’s reputation in the community.  Word of mouth is definitely one of those ways.  I think the benefits that the school offers sometimes is related to the school’s reputation as well (i.e. Shanghai American School in Shanghai).  I wonder how fast reputations change about a school or if they change even at all.  If you are new to the international school community, then you might not necessarily know the current reputation of the international school you are interviewing with at the fair.  You can get some information from the internet and certain websites, but now we have International School Community.  On our website, you can go to the school’s profile page that you are interested in and contact a member that either currently works at that school or has worked at that school in the past.  You can easily get a first hand account of the reputation from a current or former teacher at that international school.

Living overseas

Having left your own safe environment suddenly you no longer have control (which as teachers we enjoy) over your world. As soon as you step out into the outside world in whatever country, you can be faced with

  • street signs and scripts you cannot read (eg in Asia, Middle East etc)
  • language you do not understand
  • how to get the simplest thing done (fix a tap leak, AC problem)
  • who to ask for help

It is similar to a new born chick who has just left the nest – since you lack confidence in your new surroundings you start out by going on small excursions, but then as you get more confident you go on further trips away from ‘the nest’.”

This entry made me laugh out loud a bit.  It is true I suppose that teachers prefer to have “control” in their classrooms.  How ironic then that international school teachers put themselves in a situation where they for sure don’t have control.  Living in another country is certainly you letting go of the control and safety of your home country and culture.  But that is what makes this career choice really exciting; you never know what to expect and what you will experience next.  How frustrating though to not be able to read street and road signs, I can relate to that.  Additionally, not being able to understand that local language really makes you use all your other senses more in how to interpret body language and to gather meaning from body positioning, gestures and context.  At this point I am so use to being on a train or plane where everyone around me is speaking a different language than me that it is strange now (and quite over-stimulating) to be on a plane in the United States where I understand all the many conversations going on around my seat.

What to expect at a job fair

“During the afternoon, the school will have interviews in their hotel rooms – it is all a bit surreal, but the recruiters carry out the interviews in their rooms (this is normal procedure!) At the end of this day the schools will then look at the candidates they have interviewed (and if you are one of them) then they will either invite you for a second interview – the next day – or drop a note in your folder to say that they no longer wish to continue seeing you. In some cases – and this has happened to us – some schools will show a lot of interest in you at interview, and be very enthusiastic, but then not inform you either way. It is quite depressing when this happens, but most schools are professional and will let you down easy instead of just ignoring you.

There is often the “shmoosh” – an informal drink in the evening with recruiters and candidates. I feel it is very important to go to this and network – with other candidates as well as recruiters. It can give you the chance to ask a few informal questions of recruiters of a school you are contemplating, and you might even meet a candidate from that school, or who has worked there.

Day 2 : This is the callback day – the recruiters will hopefully have narrowed the field and you will still be in the running. If you are lucky, you will have a second interview. After a second interview one of two things will happen, either the school will offer you the position or they will say that they will get back to you later. If they say the second thing, ask them to give you a definite date. If you are offered a contract, then you sign a preliminary document which is a legally binding agreement to inform the fair organisers that you have accepted a position. Later, when the recruiters return to their schools and countries, they will send you the proper contract to sign.

I describe a job fair as “an emotional roller coaster” as you go from the depths of despair to the heights of elation, usually in the space of a few minutes.

It is a bit surreal to have job interviews in hotel rooms, but the international school community has been doing it so long at recruitment fairs that now it is normalized.  Do the administrators actually sleep in those rooms though?  That I’m not so sure of.  The folder at an international school recruitment fair: it is the most looked at mailbox of your life.  Be prepared though to hardly get anything at some fairs.  It all depends on your past experience, but also is related to who has the “power” that year: the international schools or the candidates.  You know I have been to three recruitment fairs and have never gone to the informal drink event at the end of the first day.  Never thought it was something I was interested in going to.  What does everyone think of this event?

Check out the international schools that are listed in Almaty and Dubai on International School Community.

Currently, there are 25 international schools listed in the Dubai area on our website, with 13 of them being schools that have had information and comments submitted on them.  Check out the submitted comments about these schools here.

Currently, there are 5 international schools listed in the Almaty area on our website, with 3 of them being schools that have had information and comments submitted on them.  Check out the submitted comments about these schools here.

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

Traveling Around: Lebanon (The life of an international school teacher is good!)

Traveling Around: Lebanon

Can you relate?

• Enjoying the gentle breeze of the Mediterranean Sea.
• Taking in the sunlight and warmth while escaping the winter coldness of Northern Europe.
• Being amazed of the history of Beirut, with its 1000s of years of oppression.
• Going on a day tour with small group of people from all over the world: Venezuela, U.K., Romania, Lebanon, USA, and UAE.  Great conversations.
• Checking out very old art (e.g. mosaics) and being in awe of the detail and history of each piece.
• Driving through the mountains and enjoying the excellent views of banana tree groves, the sea and just nature in general.
• Noticing the different ways that the Lebanese culture make bread designs. There was a popular purse-shaped bread on all the streets in Beirut.
• Observing the Lebanese men walking around in their underwear instead of wearing a Speedo or another kind of bathing suit.
• Being surprised to hear shouts from the military officers (with large guns) when I tried to take pictures nearby them.
• Taking in the history of the buildings in downtown Beirut; the newly constructed ones, the renovated ones, and the old ones that still have signs of war wreckage on them.
• Walking around the antique district and finally deciding to purchase some old tiles to put around my flat. I think I haggled well!
• Getting into a taxi car with a man who only spoke Lebanese Arabic and being taken for an extra long ride in the wrong direction.
• Walking around and exploring Jounieh, getting into neighborhoods where there weren’t any stores around and observing how the people live.
• Checking out all the Lebanese grocery stores to see which products that they had
• Eating at very good and tasty restaurants; getting treated very well with many restaurants giving me a complimentary dish/appetizer.
• Going to a felafel stand and trying to figure out the system to buy one without knowing the correct lingo and procedure to use.
• Experiencing rain, sleet, snow, hail, fog, sun, clouds, etc. all in the span on 1 hour while walking around the top of a nearby mountain.

Currently we have five international schools listed in Lebanon on International School Community. They are:

American Community School at Beirut (16 Comments)

International College Beirut (0 Comments)

Beirut International School (0 Comments)

Wellspring Learning Community (7 Comments)

Adma International School (0 Comments)

If you are on a trip right now, away from your host country, write to us at with your “Can you relate?” traveling experiences.  Tell us where you are traveling in the world and how you are coping with any culture shock.  If we choose your “Can you relate?” experience, International School Community will give you a coupon code for 1 free month of premium membership!

Recruitment Resources for International Teachers: The long list of things to think about! (Part 2 of 3)

There are so many things to think about and search for information about when recruiting.  Why not have all the links you need to reference all in one location?
London, England 

Recruitment Resources for International Teachers: (Part 2)

Issues regarding overseas employment:

Is it still a good deal?  Figuring out finances / package is a tough one. Usually there are many unseen costs and non-existent benefits that are usually taken for granted in the states.  Many schools have been cutting back on salary and benefits so it pays to check out packages being offered currently versus those that have been offered in the past.  There are no standards and every school is different! There are good schools out there, there are schools that use to be good, and there are and will always be some bad ones.

Some food for thought includes:

•  Social Security Disability Benefit is not valid after 5 years of teaching/living overseas (Good schools provide it, buy your own if not provided).

•  Medical Insurance Coverage (International insurances can usually be extended after a contract to cover in between periods, national ones usually can not).

•  Retirement planning is tricky… Check this out carefully… Social Security is greatly reduced if you are overseas for any length of period. Good schools offer over 10%… The best ones offer 15% or more!

•  Be sure to check on shipping allowances both in and out. Good schools offer 3,000 dollars plus!

•  Annual home leave should be standard. Schools with strong packages offer annual home leave.

•  Housing allowance or provision. size? quality? laundry? storage? monthly fees? maintenance fees?

•  Work and Residence permits, Immigration and bond fees, inflation, local taxes, (ever hear of a TV tax? as in Norway)

•  Fees for dependents including tuition, residence permits, other government fees… included or not?

•  Housing fees, phone, cable, utilities… included or not?

•  Professional development… supported or not?

•  Day care options (on site, cost, quality?)

•  School substitute / coverage policy (might you be expected to help cover for a long term illness of a co-worker?)

•  Outbound recruitment policy at the school and when do the outgoing teachers have to give notice. Jan? Feb? March?

•  Leave including Personal, Emergency, and Sick. What and how much?

•  School climate and teacher moral. Staff turnover will give a good indicator of the current situation (find current teachers to talk to or e-mail)

•  Protection: no unions in most overseas schools… You are on your own so watch out for yourself.

•  Is it still a good deal… I would say yes if you can find the right school. My estimate is that about 50% of the international schools out there are still a great deal…

Things that give you an advantage while at the recruitment fairs:

1. Be married to a teacher (Administration views teaching teams as a 2 for 1 deal)

2. Have very few dependents or children… (Most schools give children free tuition at their school) If you have four children and the tuition is 10,000 dollars then you are costing an extra 40,000 a year compared to a candidate with no children. *Some recruiters state a maximum of two children outright.

3. Have at least 3 years or more experience.

4. Have more than one certification and be flexible and willing to do a lot of extracurricular activities.

5. Fields that are filled locally and not recruited for as much as others… include, PE, ESL and Elementary. These positions are out there, just not as in demand as others.

6. Bring a very thin but action packed resume / packet of information about yourself. I include a resume and a one page cover including digital photos, icons, other flashy stuff that will make a memorable impression.

7. Target all schools on your first job search (recruitment).  Think of your first job as a training posting and keep an open mind…

8. Do your research on specific schools of interest.

(Taken from the blog article from wwteach.)

Also check out all the comments and information about 1000s of different international schools around the world on International School Community!

Blogs of international school teachers: The Miles Abroad. Chapter 1 Dhaka

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

Our 15th blog that we would like to highlight is called “The Miles Abroad. Chapter 1 Dhaka.”  Check out the blog entries of this international school teacher who has worked at International School Dhaka.

A few entries that we would like to highlight:

A few photos
“Here’s a collection of photos we took the other day, on the roof of our apartment block. If you consider the size of our apartment and that there are two like that on each floor, it’ll give a real idea of the size of the space up there. There’s a few ISD families in this block, with young children; we’re figuring it’d be great to meet up for brunch on the roof during weekends.”

Where shall we go?
“I know we’ve only just arrived, but it’s time to start thinking about where to go on holiday.  We’ve a week in October, a month at Christmas, and two weeks at Easter.  So many places are relatively close, so we’re spoilt for choice.  Only problem is it costs about $200 in exit taxes per person.

So, for example, we got an email about a $115 round trip flight to Bangkok before the end of October, but we’re talking more than $1200 for the whole family to visit for a week/9 days.  That’s a hell of a lot of money and we’re trying to save and work on the debt situation.  Bummer.  And it looks like it’s w a a a a a y more expensive at Christmas time, so doesn’t look that feasible either.

What else can we do?  Well, apparently Nepal would be relatively easy to get to, and much cheaper.  Also, Kolkatta, although you fly there, you can also take a bus (11 hours – is this a good idea with two kids?) or the train (also 11 hours, but more doable)  In fact, the train idea looks great, since it costs, apparently, $20 each.  I expect there may well be some exit taxes involved too, but nowhere near as much as flying.

An alternative would be to travel around Bangladesh.  Winter time is the best time to travel here, since the country is much drier then.  One option would be take a boat trip around the Sundarbans for a few days.  Another would be to visit Cox’s Bazar. Here’s a photo, and some info.  Sounds like a fantastic place.”

First impressions
“Speaking of that, that’s the main issue right now.  Not speaking the language means it’s impossible to really argue with someone, and also not knowing the local values.  As foreigners we’ll always pay over the odds for things, that’s fine, but I don’t like being taken advantage of.  However, there’s a rickshaw driver named Jalal who hangs around outside, with another guy Rashed, both of whom speak English.  Jalal’s is great and he’s pretty much adopted this building as it’s mostly ISD people living here.  He’s helped Chris (PE teacher, lives upstairs, has a 2-year old son whose name I can’t spell but it sounds like kie-er) to do some shopping, driven him about, bargained for him.  That’s great, exactly what we need, someone who’ll honestly and sincerely help without taking advantage of us.  He and Rashed took us to the school on Saturday so we could use the pool, he helped us get to our restaurant that evening by getting the motorized rickshaw and arguing with the driver about the price (of course I didn’t understand what he said but it was spattered with English words like ‘schoolteacher’ and I’m guessing he was saying “Come on man, don’t take the p”@” we’re not talking rich foreigner’s here they’re just teachers)  Anyway, he told us how much to pay for the ride (100 taka, which is about 66p) and made sure the driver knew where we were going.”

Check out the International School Dhaka profile page on International School Community.  Currently, there are 5 international schools listed in Bangladesh on our website, with all 5 of them being in Dhaka.

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